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Islamic State claims 16 soldiers killed in Macomia battle

Insurgents in Cabo Delgado claim to have killed 16 members of the armed forces in a battle in Macomia last week

Up to 16 members of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) were killed in fierce fighting on 15 September around the village of Nkoe in the Macomia district of Cabo Delgado province. The clash followed a military operation in Nkoe the previous week in which the FADM claimed to have killed four insurgent leaders.

Insurgents reportedly attacked a FADM position in Nkoe on the evening of 15 September around 22:00, prompting military vehicles to be dispatched from Macomia district headquarters 20km away, a local source told Zitamar. The details of the battle are unclear but various sources confirmed soldiers had been killed in the fighting.

Islamic State (IS) subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack, stating on social media channels that insurgents assaulted an army barracks with machine guns and killed 16 soldiers.

Zitamar tried to contact the Ministry of Defence on Monday morning to confirm the reports, but the ministry spokesman did not answer the telephone.

A week before, on September 7, insurgents and security forces had clashed in Nkoe in an FADM raid on an insurgent base. According to Brigadier Omar Saranga, coordinator of the Northern Operational Theatre, four insurgent leaders were killed in the raid. He added that there were no longer any insurgent bases left in Macomia, barring some “hideouts”. Zitamar has not been able to independently confirm these claims.