AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Jihadist attack at dawn in the Macomia district; the population flees into the forest

Friday, 10 May 2024 jihadists   violence   displaced persons  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - Since the early hours of today, May 10, an attack carried out by jihadists linked to the Islamic State has been underway in the district of Macomia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, north of Mozambique. Local sources describe the situation as traumatic, since around 5 a.m., some 500 jihadists entered the Xinavane neighborhood in the capital of Macomia and started shooting. The population, panicked, took refuge in the forest to protect themselves. In recent days, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on two villages in the Chiúre district of Cabo Delgado province. During the attack on the village of Siripa on May 6, the jihadists claimed to have burned two churches, a school and more than 190 houses. In the ranks of the jihadists, in addition to locals, there are several foreigners, including citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local sources. These attacks come as the gradual withdrawal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) military mission (SAMIM) from Cabo Delgado province is underway. SAMIM has been present in Cabo Delgado since mid-2021, and in August 2023, SADC approved an extension of another 12 months, until July 2024, in line with a phased withdrawal plan. The first contingent to withdraw was from Botswana on April 5, followed on April 7 by troops from South Africa and Lesotho. The only SAMIM mission partner that still has troops on the ground is Tanzania, which has a separate bilateral security agreement with Mozambique that could continue beyond the official end of the SAMIM mission on July 15. South Africa was the main contributor, sending some 1,500 troops to Cabo Delgado, responsible for security operations in the Macomia district itself. The Mozambican government intends to replace the SAMIM contingent with a reinforcement of the Rwandan army (present in Mozambique under a separate agreement) and with a reinforcement of local militias. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 10/5/2024)