A sustained series of attacks within 100km of Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, has caused thousands to flee and is causing serious alarm in Pemba itself.
After a series of attacks in Ancuabe at the start of June, insurgents advanced to Chiúre, a district bordering Nampula province to the south, and one which was home to thousands of people displaced from further north in Cabo Delgado.
On 12 June, Islamic State claimed through its social media channels that they had killed two civilians and burned 70 houses in Retene, a village in the Mazeze administrative post, about 25km east of Chiúre district headquarters. A local source told Zitamar on 12 June that Retene and Mazeze village, 8km south of Retene, had come under attack that day but could not confirm any details of casualties.
Various sources told Zitamar that there were rumours of an attack on Mazeze on 11 June, including a resident who fled Ocúa village in Chiúre, 50km west of Mazeze, after hearing reports that insurgents had attacked Mazeze, setting fire to houses and killing at least 10 people. However, so far there is no direct confirmation of this attack and given their proximity to each other, it is not clear if these rumours refer to the attack on Retene or a separate incident.
Retene and Mazeze lie just 50km from the provincial capital of Pemba.
Another unconfirmed report suggests the village of Micolene, 14km west of Retene, was attacked and buildings set alight on 13 June.
On 14 June, local reports suggested that insurgents beheaded a man the day before in Mecufi district to the east of Chiúre. One source claimed that the attack took place in Mancuaia, approximately west of Mecufi district headquarters.
Neither Chiure or Mecufi had been attacked by insurgents until this week.
Sources report that police have restricted access to roads connecting Chiúre and Montepuez to Pemba, and videos appearing on social media show large traffic jams outside Pemba as every vehicle entering the city is searched for insurgent infiltrators. A report from the International Organization for Migration estimates that at least 11,737 people were displaced between 2 and 13 June.
News article produced by Zitamar under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED and Mediafax. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.