Cabo Ligado Weekly: 31 August - 6 September 2020

Situation Report
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Cabo Ligado— or ‘connected cape’ — is a conflict observatory monitoring political violence in Mozambique, launched in partnership with Zitamar News, Mediafax, and the International Crisis Group.

Situation Summary

Operations by both insurgents and government forces picked up last week, although the expected battle for Mocímboa da Praia has not yet begun. Instead, insurgents continued to establish their reach in coastal Mocímboa da Praia district, while Mozambican troops amassed with their eyes on the district capital.

On 1 September, insurgents entered the village of Quelimane in northern Mocimboa da Praia district along the road between Mocimboa da Praia and Palma. The attackers fired their weapons, causing the people living in the village to flee. No one was injured.

The same day, in Muambula, Muidumbe district, a young man, said to be a local leader of the insurgency, was arrested after local citizens turned him in, according to a Carta de Moçambique report. He had returned to the village on 31 August after some time away. After his arrest, he was taken to Mueda, where the government keeps prisoners in military custody.

Insurgents attacked Ilha Vamize, Palma district on 5 September after arriving from the mainland by motorboat. No one was killed in the attack, but insurgents burned three homes, looted solar panels, batteries, a boat, and other goods. Before returning to the mainland, insurgents told locals that they would attack Palma town in the coming days, although no such attack has yet materialized.

The same day, the Islamic State (IS) claimed that the group had killed 20 Tanzanian soldiers, captured four vehicles, and burned several others while fighting off an attack by Tanzanian forces in Mocimboa da Praia. A photograph that accompanied the claim in Amaq News Agency showed two Tanzanian drivers’ licenses, allegedly belonging to slain Tanzanian soldiers. The Tanzanian military officially denied that it had any troops in Mozambique, and the IS statement offered no evidence to back up the claim that the men whose licenses were pictured were anything but civilians.
Tanzanian security forces have been conducting border operations north of the Rovuma since March, and their operations intensified in August. While there have been unverified rumors of Tanzanian military involvement in Cabo Delgado in the past, no information has emerged to lend credibility to the rumors. The lack of images of either the vehicles reportedly taken or uniformed soldiers reportedly killed certainly calls the details of this IS claim into question.