The Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) appear to have lost a helicopter in fighting around Afungi in Cabo Delgado province.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that Islamist militants clashed with Mozambican government forces in a new attack in Palma district, near the installations of the multimillion-dollar Afungi gas exploration site, on Wednesday afternoon.
The militants were repelled with air support, a security source told AFP, adding that a Mozambican Air Force Mi-8 helicopter trying to deploy troops from the base in Patacua – about five kilometres from Afungi – developed technical problems and made an emergency landing.
However, Intelyse travel risk & information services reported that a Mozambican Air Force Mi-17 was shot down on 23 June after being hit by small arms fire. “According to the latest reports on the ground, the FADM secured the crash site, but information on its exact location remains unclear. Intelyse sources reported tense situations in both Afungi and Mueda— the Defence and Security Forces’ (DSF) headquarters—over the past 24 hours,” the company said.
The clashes around Afungi came at the same time as southern African regional leaders met in Maputo and approved the deployment of a regional standby force from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help Mozambique fight terrorism.
There has been a renewed round of attacks in Palma over the last week.
A decade ago, the Mozambican military had several Mi-8 and a couple of Mi-24 helicopters in service but most of its aircraft were unserviceable. Earlier this year Mozambique received several upgraded Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters through Paramount. It is not clear if they are flown by foreign or Mozambican crews.