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Insurgents extend offensive into Ancuabe district

Insurgents attacked the village of Nanduli in Ancuabe on Sunday, having moved south through Quissanga district

Insurgents attacked the village of Nanduli in Ancuabe district on Sunday afternoon, killing at least seven people and burning down a number of homes, in the first confirmed attack in the district since the insurgency began four and a half years ago.

Insurgents entered Nanduli village, approximately 20km northeast of Ancuabe district headquarters, on Sunday afternoon, local sources said. Details of the incident are still emerging, but two sources told Zitamar that at least seven people were killed, including a woman, who was beheaded, and the guard of a farm belonging to Frelimo veteran politician Alberto Chipande.

Several buildings were also set alight. NASA FIRMS, which observes fires from satellite imagery, reported several clusters of fires directly over Nanduli on Sunday night.

That evening, Islamic State social media claimed responsibility for beheading a person and burning down “dozens of houses” in the village.

Following last week’s attack on several villages in Quissanga, which has also been a relatively peaceful front in recent months, insurgents appear to have continued their march southwest to Ancuabe district. Insurgents were sighted in the east of Ancuabe on Friday 3 June and were seen again the next day, sparking panic among villagers in the area, according to a report shared by a security consultant.

The attack has prompted many from the surrounding area to flee towards Silva Macua village in Ancuabe, Pemba, Chiure and Nampula. A video has surfaced on social media appearing to show civilians in the aftermath of the attack on Nanduli carrying packed bags and suitcase trying to board a packed bus heading away from the district.

One local source told Zitamar that buses have increased their fare from 150 meticais to 400 meticais for people fleeing the Nanduli attack.

Government security forces, accompanied by troops from the Rwandan Defence Forces and the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique, deployed to the village, forcing the insurgents to flee, the security consultant report claims.

Ancuabe district has seen a handful of incidents apparently related to the insurgency in the last three years. Carta de Moçambique reported that the town of Ancuabe was attacked in 2019, though no further details ever emerged about the supposed attack. The latest incident recorded in the ACLED database was in August 2020 when three dead bodies were found in Nanjua village, but it has never been firmly concluded as to whether that incident was related to the insurgency.

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.