Unknown gunmen killed six farmers near Tanzania’s southern border with Mozambique, a senior police official said, amid concerns over Islamist militants in a poor region where foreign companies are developing gas deposits.
The ambush on Tuesday, on an island in Ruvuma River the border between the two countries, is the latest in a spate of execution-style attacks in the area since 2017 that have so far killed more than 100 people.
The gas deposits are in the northern Mozambican province Cabo Delgado and researchers found the militants based there and launch attacks on both sides of the border are linked to Islamist groups in Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and the Great Lakes region, where some received training.
“A group of armed men is believed to have entered the country from Mozambique, ambushed the farmers, rounded them up and shot them,” Tanzania’s director of criminal investigations (DCI), Robert Boaz, told journalists.
Seven people were injured and hospitalised and Tanzanian security forces are searching for the attackers, he said.
In June, gunmen from an Islamist militant armed group in Cabo Delgado killed 11 people in northern Mozambique near the border with Tanzania.
Impoverished Cabo Delgado, surrounded by dense forests and isolated villages, houses a number of multinational companies developing one of the biggest offshore gas finds in a decade – estimated to be worth at least $30 billion.
The attacks mostly targeted civilians and government buildings. In February US energy giant Anadarko said a worker was killed and others injured in two attacks near the construction site for its massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.