More than 20 members of the Mozambican military were killed in a battle with insurgents in the contested village of Mucojo, in the Cabo Delgado district of Macomia, on Friday.
A communication through Islamic State propaganda channels claimed that around 20 members of the Mozambican armed forces had been killed. Macomia district administrator Tomás Badae told the radio station Zumbo FM, based in the provincial capital of Pemba, that at least 25 had been killed, and their uniforms taken. Carta de Moçambique reported 22 dead.
A local source in Macomia told Zitamar News that the fight had taken place in the early hours of Friday, in the village of Mucojo, where the Mozambican military has a base.
The source said a helicopter had flown to the area while the fight was going on, but quickly left when insurgents started shooting at it.
Some insurgents, the source said, had been travelling through other villages in the area, telling locals to continue their normal activities and to not be afraid.
Another source said the insurgents were now occupying the villages of Mucojo, Nambo, Messano, and Pangane. They raised their flag in the village of Mucojo, and said they would stay around to eliminate a boat which the navy has been accused of using to persecute people fishing off the coast there.
Mozambican and South African military managed to access the village of Mucojo on Sunday to recover their dead, a local source told Zitamar.
The military position at the village has changed hands at least twice since 20 January 2024. Sources in Cabo Delgado have reported that the insurgency describes Mucojo as ‘Medinah’, in reference to the second holiest city in Islam — an indication that Islamic State Mozambique sees Mucojo as a significant prize.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Cabo Delgado, the stretch of the old road, or ‘estrada velha’, between Mucojo, Pangane, and Quiterajo has been used as a launchpad for infiltration of jihadist groups from the coast into other areas like Catupa and Mbau.
This article was produced by Zitamar News under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with Mediafax and ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.