Insurgents raided a Mozambican security forces base at Chai, in Macomia district, on Tuesday night, seizing a large array of weapons and ammunition.
Islamic State (IS)-affiliated social media channels published a picture purportedly of the captured stockpile, which includes 13 assault rifles, three light machine guns, two rocket propelled grenade launchers and large quantities of ammunition.
IS also claimed to have killed one soldier and three others in the attack, but this has not yet been corroborated by other sources.
Chai is located on the N380 road, which runs through central Macomia, less than 10km south of the Messalo river. The area has been a hive of insurgent activity since July this year when security forces completed their clearing operation of the Katupa forest, about 20km east of Chai.
On 12 December, insurgents attacked Mozambican Armed Defence Forces (FADM) bases at Nkoe and Nova Zambezia, both within 20km of Chai. It is not confirmed how many were killed but Portuguese news agency Lusa reported that four bodies were later discovered in the forest near Nova Zambezia, one of which belonged to a member of the Local Force.
IS also published pictures on 7 December featuring a large group of fighters pledging allegiance to the new caliph, gathered on what appears to be the dry bed of a river, most likely the Messalo.
The scale of activity south of the Messalo and west of the N380 in Macomia suggests this is one of the insurgents’ main strongholds in Cabo Delgado.