Mozambique Struggling to Contain Violence in Troubled Northern Regions

Mozambique’s president said Islamist militants in the country’s northern Nampula province have killed six people, all by beheading, and abducted three others. The Islamist militant movement in northern Mozambique is spreading to new territory despite efforts by government and regional forces to contain it.

Speaking live on national radio Wednesday from the southern Gaza province, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi confirmed the beheadings and abductions and said dozens of houses were set on fire on Tuesday.

This was the third terrorist attack within five days in Nampula province, where the incidents are creating a new wave of displaced people, though authorities do not have exact numbers.

The president said the militants were attempting to bolster their numbers. He said the militants tried to recruit new members in Nampula province but were unsuccessful.

“Hence, their nervousness,” the president said in Portuguese. “They are very nervous.”

On Friday night, militants attacked the village of Kutua, in the district of Eráti. On Sunday, they attacked the village of Naminhanha, also in the Memba district.

In his speech, Nyusi said Mozambique’s defense and security forces, with the support of troops from Rwanda and the regional bloc SADC, are fighting the militants.

The president said Mozambican forces recently recaptured a terrorist base.

He said defense and security forces took over Katupha base in Ancuabe district in Cabo Delgado province. The terrorist base is where terrorists had taken refuge after being displaced in towns and villages now under the responsibility of government authorities.

Nyusi added that finding the militants is difficult because many are hiding in a dense forest.

With the worsening of the terrorist wave in Cabo Delgado in recent years, many residents have fled to Nampula, looking for a safe and peaceful place to live.

Nampula is now the third province of northern Mozambique where terrorist attacks have displaced villagers, following Cabo Delgado and Niassa.

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