AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Attack on Macomia: food supplies looted

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 jihadists  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - New details have emerged about the attack on Macomia, capital of the district of the same name in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado (see Fides 10/5/2024). The economy in Macomia was on the upswing after operations by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) military mission, the Rwandan contingent and the Mozambican army appeared to have regained control of the province. But as Tanzania strengthened its defenses and control of movements beyond its borders, Rwandans provided security in Mocímboa da Praia and Palma, and the Mozambican army operated in the remaining regions, the jihadists once again turned their attention to the districts that were recovering from the wave of destruction and looting of the last six years. In recent days, agricultural products have been gathering in Macomia to be sold at the city's important market. In addition, the city is home to important facilities and camps of several international humanitarian organizations operating in the region. In the May 10 attack, the jihadists stole food from private stores and the World Food Program (WFP) warehouse, which was then loaded onto at least 10 vehicles stolen from the humanitarian organizations. The attack was preceded by the infiltration of jihadist elements among the local population and the displaced, which facilitated the progress of the more than 100-strong commando that stormed the city around 4:30 a.m. According to residents of the city, the jihadists had precise information about the deployment of the security forces, which they had received not only from infiltrators but also possibly from corrupt elements within the military. The soldiers suffered heavy losses, at least 18 soldiers were killed. The jihadists appear to have adopted a placating attitude towards the civilian population. On the one hand, they allowed them to take part in the looting, on the other hand, they called for a rally where they claimed that they were not angry with them, but only with the military, and even apologized for the damage caused. At around 1 p.m., the commandos withdrew from Macomia, taking with them the food destined for the Mucojo area, still in rebel hands, and some hostages taken among the employees of some NGOs. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2024)