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At least three killed in attack on Matemo island

Multiple people were killed in an apparent insurgent raid on the island of Matemo, just north of Ibo, last night

Insurgents launched an attack on Matemo island in Ibo district on Tuesday afternoon that continued throughout the night, killing at least three people and burning the local hospital.

A source told Zitamar that insurgents arrived at 17:00 by boat and quickly set about looting, burning buildings, and destroying tents. Much of the damage was concentrated in the neighbourhoods of Palussança, Mitupa and Gamba, according to a local trader.

The insurgents remained on Matemo until the following morning when they were forced to withdraw under aerial bombardment, Zitamar’s source reported. Initial estimates suggest at least three people were killed while one source claimed 19 were killed, and 15 people injured.

Another Zitamar source said on Monday that up to three women escaped an insurgent camp in the vicinity of Quiterajo and Mucojo in Macomia district and fled to the coastal village of Crimize. Local fishermen were initially hesitant to take them in but on Tuesday morning they agreed to help the women escape. A group of around 10 insurgents soon arrived but after realising that the women and fishermen had already fled, they commandeered a boat and launched their raid on Matemo.

The NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) detected three fires in built-up areas of Matemo island at 00:20 local time on 02/02/22, coinciding with the reported time of the attack.

The insurgents allegedly fled in a fleet of six stolen boats carrying looted food, and captured women and children. One of the boats, named ‘Wasafi’, has since shown up in Pemba.

Matemo forms part of the Quirimbas Islands approximately 90km north of Pemba and is home to at least 1000 families displaced by the conflict in Cabo Delgado. It is reported that one of those killed was a displaced man from Quiterajo. The surrounding region has recently seen a sustained spate of attacks, including a raid on the island of Quilhaule 30km south of Matemo on January 13.

This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.