At least five people have been killed in a series of attacks In Ancuabe district on 18 and 19 June, which saw suspected insurgents burn villages and attack a vehicle transporting soldiers.
At least two members of the security forces were killed on Saturday when their vehicle was attacked around the village of Nikuita, approximately 8km north of Ancuabe. A local source reported that a Mahindra jeep carrying members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) was ambushed on its way to a farm owned by Frelimo veteran and former defence minister Alberto Chipande, where a security guard was executed by insurgents on 4 June.
The source told Zitamar that two people are estimated to have been killed and two more injured. Islamic State (IS) social media claimed the next day that insurgents attacked the village of Nikuita and clashed with security forces when they tried to intervene, killing two of them and burning a vehicle. On June 20, IS released a photo report allegedly of the attack, showing a burning car and the bodies of two men in military uniforms.
A resident who fled Nikuita said the insurgents killed two more people in the village, one of them a child, before moving onto Nanoa, according to a Lusa report.
A local source told Zitamar that the village of Nanoa, just 5km north of Ancuabe district headquarters, was under attack on Saturday 18 June and that insurgents were burning down houses. NASA FIRMS, which detects fires from satellite observations, reported fires directly over Nanoa on Saturday night. One civilian was killed in the fires, according to another source. The next day, IS social media published a statement claiming to have attacked the village, beheaded a civilian and burnt down a church along with several homes.
Macaia, about 6km northeast of Ancuabe, was the next to be attacked. On 19 June, a local source claimed insurgents were setting fire to the village. That night, NASA FIRMS detected a cluster of fires over populated areas of the village. The next day, IS released a statement claiming to have beheaded two Christians and burnt down two churches and several homes.
President Filipe Nyusi visited the villages of Nanoa and Nikuita on Thursday during a tour of Cabo Delgado in which he praised security forces for their progress in combating the insurgency. Much of the district, however, is said to be in panic, with one source reporting that there is a widespread feeling that Chipande moving his property from his Ancuabe farm to Mieze is a sign that authorities know the security situation is a lot more dangerous than they are letting on.