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Insurgents burn village to force locals to move to Bilibiza

Insurgents are apparently carrying out religiously-motivated killings and clearing villages in the area around Bilibiza

Insurgents have burned the village of Tapara, in the west of Quissanga district, to the ground and forced villagers to move to Bilibiza, the main village in the area, which is said to be under the influence of the insurgency.

On 8 June, a group of insurgents arrived in Tapara, which sits near the River Montepuez between Bilibiza and the E380 north-south road. They arrived at night and called all of the villagers out, and asked who among them was Christian, according to a farmer in Bilibiza. One, a native of Nampula province, was identified and was killed in front of the other villagers.

Another man was killed after the insurgents found a firearm in his house. Three women were abducted by the insurgents, including one who was on her way to Bilibiza with her husband and child, whom she was forced to leave behind and join the insurgents.

The insurgents then burned all of the houses in the village and told the villagers to go and join the residents of Bilibiza, according to the source in Bilibiza.

In Bilibiza, the insurgents are allowing villagers to travel along the road that heads west to join the E380 north-south road at the ‘ADPP junction’ – named after a sign there pointing to a teacher training college in Bilibiza run by NGO ADPP. Locals are banned, however, from taking the minor road that follows the River Montepuez through Tapara to where it joins the E380, south of the ADPP junction, next to the villages of Moja and Nivico.

The population of Bilibiza has been accused of cooperating with the insurgents, after photos circulated on social media apparently showing insurgents moving freely through crowds in the local market.

But a source in Bilibiza denied they were cooperating. “We’re here because we have nowhere to go, but things are bad, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re worried, too, because we’re hearing people say that we’re not leaving because we’re insurgents too,” a resident told Zitamar News.

The last time insurgents were seen passing through the town, they came on motorbikes, the sources said — some laden with goods, and some heavily armed.