At least 13 civilians have died in fresh attacks in Mozambique’s volatile northern Cabo Delgado province where Islamists have terrorised villagers in remote communities for more than a year, local sources said Saturday.
One of the latest attacks occurred on Thursday evening on Ulo village in Mocimboa da Praia district in which more than 120 houses were destroyed, the sources said.
“Two additional attacks were carried out during the early hours of (Friday), on the villages of Nabajo and Maculo, killing a total of 13 villagers,” a local resident said.
Hardline Islamists have launched several deadly attacks in the Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado province in the past year, stoking unrest just as Maputo pushes ahead with gas exploration efforts.
Last month, a Mozambican worker was killed and six others were wounded when two road convoys operated by US gas giant Anadarko came under attack in northern Mozambique.
They were the first such attacks by militants targeting gas operators in the area.
The jihadists — reportedly seeking to impose Sharia law in the province — have terrorised remote communities, killing more than 200 people since October 2017.
The Islamists belong to a group originally known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama — Arabic for “followers of the prophet” — but commonly referred to by locals and officials as “Al-Shabaab”. It has no known link to the notorious Al-Shahaab group in Somalia.
Human Rights Watch has accused security forces of serious human rights violations while cracking down on the insurgency and several journalists have been arrested in the area.