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Insurgents attack villages in Nangade, and kill three in military ambush

The town of Nangade is increasingly nervous as insurgents have attacked villages as close as 10km away already this week

Insurgent attacks have reached within 10km of the headquarters of Nangade district, local sources have told Zitamar News — including an ambush on a military vehicle travelling from Nangade headquarters to the town of Mueda, which killed three soldiers including one senior officer.

The ambush happened on Wednesday near the village of Litingina, south of Nangade sede, as the district headquarters is known. Also on Wednesday, insurgents attacked N'gangolo village where they killed two people from the same family, while another group went to Samora Machel village at night, said a source in Nangade — adding that at the moment residents of Nangade sede are living in fear because of how close the insurgents are.

Nangade sede sits on the road connecting Mueda with Palma. Last month, Mozambique’s defence and security forces escorted two convoys of goods vehicles between Nangade and Palma, but have since stopped doing so — leading to a build-up of vehicles in Nangade waiting to get to Palma, where there are severe shortages of basic goods.

Wednesday’s ambush at Litingina killed a lieutenant colonel, a sergeant and a corporal, according to the source in Nangade sede. They were travelling in a military vehicle heading towards Mueda, and were met in Litingina by a shower of bullets fired by insurgents who were hiding nearby, the source said.

The military vehicle did not stop, but responded by firing a bazooka, said an eyewitness who was in a passenger vehicle coming from Mueda. According to him, the passenger car almost drove into the ambush as well, but the driver realised the situation and quickly retreated.

The source added that when the passenger vehicle backed up he saw five men, each carrying two weapons, placing logs on the road.

Also on Wednesday the insurgents went to N'gangolo village where they killed two people from the same family, while another group went to Samora Machel village. These villages are about 10km from the village of Nangade, where many people, including people displaced from surrounding villages, are concentrated.

The source in Nangade sede told Zitamar that local militiamen are available to confront the attackers, but they cannot advance without an order from the Mueda command, which in turn depends on Maputo.

The apparent indifference of the authorities and the fact that the Nangade-Mueda road is impassable is increasing tension in Nangade sede, with residents not knowing where to flee to, he said.

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.