Islamist terrorists occupy fishing town of Quissanga near Pemba

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The little Mozambique fishing town of Quissanga, about 65km north of the Cabo Delgado provincial capital and port city of Pemba, has been overrun and occupied by Islamist terrorists with no effort by Mozambique Armed Forces (FADM) to defend the town.

Adjacent to Quissanga are the important occupied islands of Ibo, Matemo and Quirimba.

According to a report in the news sheet Carta de Moçambique, the terrorists moved into the town meeting with little or no resistance.

In fact reports say there was no sign of the FADM and the few members of the Mozambique Riot Police (UIR) simply melted away by blending in with the local population and heading for the beach and a possible escape by boat.

The reports say the insurgents have not on this occasion mistreated or killed the town’s residents. Muslims within the community were urged to stay and to attend a prayer meeting at the local mosque. Non-Muslims were expected to flee.

The report also says that the jihadists have stopped ambushing and burning vehicles on the roads but instead are charging motorists a fee to use the roads.

A contractor from Pemba said he was forced to pay the equivalent of US$2 340 otherwise the jihadists threatened to kill the four workers accompanying him and destroy his vehicle.

He paid the money, but was not allowed to leave. Instead they were told to return to Quissanga where they hid the vehicle and fled to the beach to find a boat to take them to Pemba.

Terrorism now south of Pemba

In related news from Lusa, it is reported that missionaries, priests and nuns are fleeing from remote villages in central and southern Cabo Delgado province and seeking shelter in the provincial capital Pemba, following a series of attacks by Islamic State terrorist groups.

One of the areas attacked is in the Mazeze area, about 100 km south of Pemba, where churches and people’s houses were burned and thousands of ordinary people have been left displaced and homeless.

The unrest that deteriorated into terrorism allied to the Islamic State broke out near the harbour town of Mocimboa da Praia in late 2017 and quickly spread across the north of the province. The FADM appeared ineffectual in preventing the spread of the islamist insurgents and even the infamous Russian Wagner Group was unsuccessful before leaving the scene.

It was with the introduction of troops from Rwanda and later with SADC troops that some semblance of order was restored. In the meantime the harbour towns of Mocimboa da Praia and Palma had been looted and construction of the emerging TotalEnergies-led gasification plant on the Afungi peninsula near Palma was abandoned.

TotalEnergies is only now in 2024 talking of a return to the project, but with the re-emergence of the Islamic State fighters, albeit a little to the south of the construction site, and the withdrawal of the SADC troops, this may remain in doubt a little longer.

Written by Africa Ports & Ships and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.