By the Numbers: Cabo Delgado, October 2017-August 2020
Total number of organized violence events: 503
Total number of reported fatalities from organized violence: 1,501
Total number of reported fatalities from civilian targeting: 967
The difficulty of acquiring clear information in Cabo Delgado was once again in evidence last week, as conflicting reports made it challenging to clarify the level of insurgent violence. There is, however, clarity on the geographic spread of last week’s attacks, with insurgents targeting Mocimboa da Praia town and two Macomia district locations.
In Mocimboa da Praia, a group of 10 insurgents burned five homes in the Nabubussi neighborhood on the night of 28 July. The attack principally targeted a truck that had arrived that day from Nampula carrying rice and goats. The attackers killed a goat, stole the young goats, and looted much of the rice in the truck before burning it. A Mocimboa da Praia resident told Voice of America that insurgents also killed a man in the raid (Voice of America, 30 July 2020). The attack demonstrates the insurgents’ continued need to prey on civilians for basic supplies like rice and meat. Likewise, it shows the ease of the insurgents’ intelligence gathering, which allowed them to target a particular food shipment in a town well-garrisoned by Mozambican security services.
The same Voice of America source said that insurgents were back in Mocimboa da Praia the next night, 29 July, and took more food. In the aftermath of the attacks, security forces closed the road between Mocimboa da Praia and Palma.
Also on 28 July, insurgents attacked Litandacua, Macomia district. They killed two civilians, burned homes, and looted before leaving the village. On their way out, a local militia, armed with out of date weapons, set upon the attacking insurgents, killing 12 of them.
Reporting on the aftermath of the 28 July Litandacua clash is somewhat unclear, as Voice of America describes an attack the next night on a “Tandacua village” that resulted in eight civilians being beheaded. “Tandacua” is almost certainly Litandacua — the Voice of America report puts Tandacua in the Chai administrative post, which is where Litandacua is located. At least one source, however, claims that the Voice of America report is describing a separate incident, so final confirmation is elusive. In any case, insurgents did return to Litandacua the night of 31 July, forcing the civilian population to flee, burning homes and looting. No one was killed in the attack, and a rumor that the attackers promised to stay in the town for a week in response to the local militia killings never came to fruition.
In Manica, Macomia district, an insurgent raid on 30 July resulted in homes being burned, food supplies looted, and four girls being kidnapped (Carta de Mocambique, 31 July 2020). The next night, the insurgents returned, staying through the night and then leaving on 1 August, along with seven kidnapped women.
Additionally, late news came in last week of an earlier attack in Novo Cabo Delgado, Macomia district, on 26 July. That incursion left six civilians and two insurgents dead, the latter fatalities coming as the result of an off-duty member of the security services who was in the village.