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Mozambique sends new troop contingent to ‘northern theatre’

Large numbers of troops travelled north from Pemba over the weekend — and may have retaken the key village of Miangalewa on their way through, according to reports

Large numbers of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces (FDS) travelled northward from the Cabo Delgado capital of Pemba over the weekend, to reinforce troops in the ‘northern theatre’ of the conflict — and may have retaken the key village of Miangalewa on their way through, according to reports.

Witnesses along the north-south E380 road that links Ancuabe, close to Pemba, to the north of the province, reported seeing between 20 and 30 vehicles carrying members of the defence and security forces. Some were buses operated by transport company Nagi, which has long been the military’s favoured transport company. Other vehicles included Mahindras, Mitsubishi Canter pick-ups, and Hino trucks, according to witnesses in Ancuabe, Meluco, and Macomia districts. One witness identified most of the personnel as belonging to the police force’s Rapid Intervention Unit (Unidade de Intervencao Rapida, UIR).

According to a report published on Facebook site Pinnacle News, the convoy was confronted by insurgents at Miangalewa, a village on the main road at the northern end of Macomia district, which has frequently been occupied by insurgents over recent months. Pinnacle’s account of the incident said 300 government troops defeated around 100 insurgents.

Zitamar has not managed to confirm reports of the conflict, but people living in Miangalewa and the nearby villages of Chitunda and Xitaxi were warned on Thursday and Friday last week to move to the higher areas of Muidumbe district, including the district headquarters of Namacande. The warning came from local militias, who told locals that a major military operation would happen in the coming days.

Zitamar’s sources also reported seeing helicopters flying north from Pemba, which Pinnacle said were flying to support the fight at Miangalewa.

Pinnacle’s report said the reinforcements eventually arrived at the barracks in the town of Mueda, to relieve troops who are completing a tour of duty in the so-called ‘northern theatre’ of the conflict.

This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED and with support from Crisis Group. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.