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Aid organisations suffer heavy losses in Macomia insurgent attack

At least six NGOs suffered losses or damages in the attack, according to a humanitarian source

Humanitarian NGOs, including the World Food Programme (WFP) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), lost hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of aid and equipment in the Islamic State-backed insurgent attack on Macomia town on 10 May.

At least six NGOs suffered losses or damages in the attack, according to a humanitarian source. The WFP told Zitamar News it lost around 160 tonnes of food, including rice, maize, vegetable oil and nutrition supplements, valued at over $120,000, when insurgents raided the warehouse of one of its local partner organisations. 

Following the attack, the WFP was forced to indefinitely suspend all operations in Macomia district, even though it says 60% of the population — more than 80,000 people — are facing “acute food insecurity”. This means that a lack of food is putting them or their livelihoods in immediate danger.

These losses represent a serious setback to the WFP, as it was already operating on a “shoestring budget” and it needs an additional $76.4m to continue its activities in Mozambique for the next six months, a spokesperson told Zitamar.

MSF lost eight vehicles, all its medicines in Macomia and other medical equipment, Zitamar understands. Islamic State Mozambique published photos of a fleet of five stolen vehicles, one of which is branded with the MSF logo. 

In a statement published on 22 May, MSF expressed concern that insurgents may be able to use its stolen vehicles to pose as aid workers. Other NGOs reported the loss of logo-branded clothing which could be misused by insurgents. MSF also suspended activities in Macomia following the attack. 

The attack on Macomia involved at least 100 insurgents and may have left over 20 Mozambican soldiers dead.