At least two members of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces (FDS) have been killed in two insurgent attacks on a military position in the village of Nova Zambézia, Macomia, in the last week.
A local publication, Zitamar, reports that the first attack began on the night of Sunday 6 March and resulted in the beheading of an FDS member who was reportedly a military commander.
On Tuesday 8 March, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the killing, via social media channels. IS boasted of attacking the barracks in Nova Zambézia with automatic weapons. The post included a picture of a body that appeared to have been mutilated but not beheaded. A picture was also attached of a military ID badge suggesting the victim was a soldier who had joined the army in April 2021.
Several photos were also included of burning buildings and a collection of military equipment, including automatic weapons, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades, allegedly captured after the raid.
On Wednesday, 9 March, IS claimed to have attacked Nova Zambézia again on Tuesday. The post on social media again included pictures of a dead soldier, who had apparently been shot in the chest, and another cache of weapons consisting of more assault rifles, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades.
Zitamar was told that security forces in Nova Zambézia were attacked on Tuesday and at least five were killed, one soldier and four civilians. Another source said a female member of the local militia was among the victims.
The latest attacks resembled one on 23 February in the village of Quinto Congresso, just 7km from Nova Zambezia, which saw a police officer’s body dismembered and beheaded.
IS also claimed responsibility for attacks on the villages of Litmanda and Chai on 24 February that reportedly killed and wounded several people.
Insurgents reportedly visited these villages on three occasions that week and threatened to kill residents if they did not leave. It is further reported that there is no longer anyone living in Litamanda and Chai.
The attacks, perpetrated by the militant Islamist group, so-called Al-Shabaab, against police stations, local government buildings and civilians in Cabo Delgado province in October 2017 have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
SADC countries and Rwanda have sent troops to help Mozambique fight the insurgents.