Militants strike again in Mozambique


Militants in Mozambique have struck for a second time in a week in the north of the country.

Early on Wednesday, they attacked the town of Quissanga, according to Agence France Presse (AFP). The local police station was attacked and destroyed, with the police surrendering within 20 minutes.

Photographs apparently from the event showed eight armed fighters standing in front of the burnt offices holding a black and white flag with Arabic inscriptions on it.

Earlier in the week, Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in northern Mozambique just south of the site of gas projects worth $60 billion being developed by the likes of Exxon Mobil and Total, Reuters reported.

Insurgents attacked the town of Mocimboa da Praia on Monday, briefly occupying some areas and its army barracks before being pushed out on Tuesday, Mozambique authorities and security analysts said.

Islamic State claimed the attack through its Amaq news agency, which said dozens of soldiers and police officers had been killed or injured. The government has not provided a figure of dead or injured.

While Islamic State has claimed a spate of recent attacks in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, home to the gas developments following one of the biggest gas finds in a decade off its coast, Tuesday’s claim of responsibility is the first matched by rare official confirmation of an attack.

Mocimboa da Praia, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the gas projects, previously served as the main airport for international workers flying into the developments and its port is used for cargo deliveries.

“This violent escalation in Mocimboa da Praia is the culmination of a tragic failure by the Mozambican government to protect the people in this volatile area,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, rights group Amnesty’s deputy director for east and southern Africa.

“For almost three years, armed groups have been attacking villagers around Cabo Delgado, causing untold human suffering without being held accountable.”

The organization said about 350 people have been killed since 2017, but many estimate a much higher figure. More than 900 people have been reported killed, says a non-government body, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project.