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Mozambique: Insurgents attack villages, burn infrastructure, churches

Pemba, Mozambique, Feb. 13, 2024, (Lusa) – An armed group that has been terrorising the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has once again attacked and destroyed infrastructure in the district of Chi├║re, an official source told Lusa.

The attack began at around 5 p.m. (3 p.m. Lisbon time) on Monday and lasted until almost midnight. The target was the headquarters of the Mazeze administrative post, in the interior of Chi├║re district, where the rebels set fire to the hospital, the administrative post office and the residence of the head of the administrative post, said the Chi├║re district administrator.

“The infrastructure is basically destroyed,” said Oliveira Amimo.

As well as burning public infrastructure, the source continued, the rebels destroyed the chapel belonging to the Roman Catholic church.

“The private infrastructure part, the priests’ chapel, was also destroyed, and at the moment, the enemy is still in the forests,” he added.

The rebel incursions into Chi├║re began at the beginning of February in the communities of Nacoja B and Nacussa, the latter five kilometres from the administrative post of Mazeze, where the groups also destroyed the Catholic church and the homes of the people.

“After spending a few hours in the village of Somas, in Mec├║fi, they went to settle in Nacoja B, where they set fire to Catholic chapels. They also destroyed some people’s homes. After Nacoja B, they marched to the village of Nacussa, five kilometres from Mazeze,” said the source.

“Unfortunately, our infrastructure has been destroyed, and we’re not functioning,” the administrator lamented, adding that the authorities are surveying the damage in the affected areas.

“We’re working at village level, with the village leaders, with the chiefs. We can’t give any figures at the moment. We’re working on the ground so that we can gauge,” concluded Oliveira Amimo, who asked the local population for “serenity”.

Cabo Delgado province has been facing attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State for six years, which has led to a military response since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), liberating districts near the gas projects.

After a period of relative stability, in recent weeks, new attacks and movements have been recorded in Cabo Delgado, although locally, the authorities suspect that the movement is linked to persecution imposed by the Defence and Security Forces in the districts of Macomia, Quissanga and Muidumbe, among the most affected.

 The conflict has already displaced one million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and caused around 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.

RYCE/ADB // ADB

Lusa

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