By the Numbers: Cabo Delgado, October 2017-November 20201
- Total number of organized violence events: 688
- Total number of reported fatalities from organized violence: 2,346
- Total number of reported fatalities from civilian targeting: 1,218
The battle for Muidumbe district continued last week, with three distinct actors involved: government forces, insurgents, and local militias. The militias, which are ostensibly on the government's side, have sometimes found themselves forced to act in their own interests. Pinnacle News reported that on 10 November, in Matambalale, Muidumbe district, government troops opened fire on a local militia. The militia members did not have uniforms, and the soldiers assumed that the militiamen were insurgents when they took up a defensive position. The Pinnacle report mentioned casualties on both sides, but did not specify how many. It was the second firefight between government and militia forces in Muidumbe this month, following the clash in Lutete on 5 November. Government forces withdrew to Mueda afterwards the Matambalale incident, leaving a weakened militia to defend the village.
The next day, insurgents exploited that weakness, taking control of Matambalale and sending the militia on a retreat toward Mueda. No casualties have been confirmed, but a witness reports that at least one vehicle was burned.
The same day, 11 November, insurgents also occupied Miteda, which is on the same N381 road to Mueda that Matambalale sits on, roughly five kilometers closer to Mueda. No casualty reports from the Miteda attack are available.
No large scale attacks were reported outside of Muidumbe district last week, but tensions still ran high. On 12 November, in Nangade town, businessman Issa Ayubo was killed in his home by unknown gunmen. The assassins are widely thought to be government forces, as Ayubo and other informal traders have frequently been the target of harassment and threats by state security services who believe they fund the insurgency. Many have been arrested and then released after paying their captors, leading many locals to believe that the accusations against the traders are illegitimate. Ayubo himself had previously been the target of such an arrest, and was held for a month under suspicion of supplying food to insurgents, enduring harsh interrogations.
Information about earlier insurgent attacks also came to light last week. On 6 November, insurgents disrupted a funeral in Nturene, southern Palma district. The insurgents fired into the air to announce their presence and then forced mourners to surrender their clothes. The attackers kidnapped two women, including the mother of the deceased.
Seven of the nine community radio journalists who were reported missing following a 31 October attack on their radio station in Nangololo, Muidumbe district have reached safety. Two are still missing, and their colleagues have not heard news of their whereabouts.