Armed group raids coastal village in northern Mozambique

Quirinde village was raided by armed attackers on Friday (26-02), and there are reports of deaths, according to local sources. On Saturday, another attack targeted the Namoto border post. Lusa reports.

An armed group invaded the coastal village of Quirinde, northern Mozambique, on Friday night (26-02), killing some residents, according to local sources quoted by the Lusa news agency on Sunday.

The flowing (Saturday) night, the nearby Namoto border post on the Rovuma River between Mozambique and Tanzania was attacked, local sources told Lusa, with no further detail available.

Helicopters from Mozambican forces were seen flying over the area in pursuit of the attackers and military vehicles dispatched from the district headquarters, Palma, to the area, sources said.

The attacks on Quirinde and Namoto made this the second consecutive weekend of attacks in Quionga administrative post, a coastal area which until now has had no history of incursions by the armed groups terrorising Cabo Delgado.

Quionga can be accessed by sea and by a dirt road, and is 20 kilometres north of Palma, the district headquarters town that hosts the Rovuma natural gas project, Africa’s largest private investment.

On the previous Friday, February 19, local sources reported an attack in Quionga costing the lives of four people. The aggressors were repulsed on Saturday the 20th by Mozambican defence forces, and fled north towards the border, the scene of this weekend’s conflict.

Reports of the Quirinde attack this Friday (26) have the attackers entering at about 6:00 p.m., surprising the population during dinner time. The group, armed with machine guns and machetes, caused the mass flight into the bush usually associated with such incursions.

Preliminary reports cited by Lusa indicate seven people dying, three by beheading. But on Monday, ‘Carta de Moçambique’ brings a report according to which the attack on Quirinde “resulted in three deaths and several wounded” and the previous attack (19) on the headquarters of the Quionga Administrative Post, near the border with Tanzania,” would have caused four deaths..

Local sources report the usual destruction of houses and looting of food and other products from shops, in addition to the abduction of residents.

Quirinde is six kilometres east of Quionga.

The Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) claimed in parliament on Thursday that there was “encouraging news” about the fight against armed groups operating in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and claiming widespread ‘cooperation’ against terrorism.

“We have encouraging news about the growing neutralisation and liquidation of terrorists who are trying to seize our wealth in Cabo Delgado,” said Sérgio Pantie, head of the Frelimo bench in the Assembly of the Republic.

Armed violence in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, where Africa’s largest private multinational investment – in natural gas – is developing, is causing a humanitarian crisis, with more than 2,000 dead and 670,000 displaced. The violence erupted in 2017 and, post 2019, some of the raids were claimed by the Islamic State ‘jihadist’ group, but the source of the attacks remains under debate.

Source: Lusa / Carta de Moçambique

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