A violent demonstration against local authorities believed to be responsible for spreading cholera in the Chiúre district of Cabo Delgado province killed at least four people on Monday morning, local sources told Zitamar News.
The protest began outside the administrative headquarters of Namogelia village, near the border with Nampula province, incited by misinformation which accused community leaders and the local branch of the National Institute of Disaster Management of deliberately causing a cholera outbreak in the community.
Four members of the local authority were beaten to death by the crowd. The mob reportedly included members of the Naparama, a local militia defined by mystical beliefs which took up arms against Islamic State Mozambique in November 2022, sources said. Police were sent but were unable to prevent the violence.
Three reported violent incidents now have been linked to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Cabo Delgado. On 27 November, a local health centre in Namogelia was destroyed in another riot sparked by misinformation about cholera. In Nacuca village, Montepuez district, similar rumours resulted in the lynching of four community leaders on 9 December.
Riots against distrusted local government and health officials often accompany cholera outbreaks in Mozambique, especially in the northern provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado. Riots over cholera took place in Cabo Delgado and Nampula in 1999, 2001, 2009, 2019, and 2020.
Around 1,100 new cases of cholera have been reported across Mozambique in the last two weeks. Sofala province in central Mozambique is currently the worst affected, with about 540 active cases, according to the provincial health director, quoted by the Lusa news agency.