At least three people were killed, including a pregnant woman, following a new attack by rebels on Sunday night in the community of Mihecani, in the district of Ancuabe, southern Cabo Delgado, local sources told Lusa today.
“They entered the village around 21:00 [minus one in Lisbon] and were praying as if they were Muslims. We even got suspicious, but it was already late and some were found by surprise,” a village resident who managed to flee to the district headquarters of Ancuabe told Lusa.
In addition to killing three local residents, including a pregnant woman, the rebels set fire to several residences, causing dozens of people to flee. This is the second terrorist attack on the community of Mihecani in less than two weeks, according to reports from another source who sought refuge in the community of Sunate, 33 kilometers from the district headquarters of Ancuabe.
“The population was convinced that they would not attack again because the Defense and Security Forces have intensified patrolling actions,” said a source who fled in the rebels’ first incursion.
The new attacks in the southern strip of the province started on June 5 and targeted hidden points in Ancuabe district, 100 kilometers away from the provincial capital (Pemba). The incursions also caused panic in some nearby districts, namely Metuge, Mecufi and Chiure, according to information from the provincial government. The rebel incursions in the south of the province caused undetermined number of deaths and a new wave of about 17 thousand displaced people, besides impacting the economic activity in the region.
It is suspected that the actions recorded in different locations in Ancuabe district are triggered by rebels fleeing the military offensive that has been underway since July 2021, with international support, in the extreme north of Cabo Delgado (districts of Palma, Mocímboa da Praia and Muidumbe), in the area of gas projects.
On Sunday, the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) announced the arrest of two people suspected of simulating new attacks in the Ancuabe district, warning of the registration of cases of individuals simulating new incursions to loot goods.
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Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas, but terrorized since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State. There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and about 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.
Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops with Rwandan support, later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), allowed the rebels to recover areas where they had been present, but their flight has provoked new attacks in other districts used as passage or temporary refuge.
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