The Palma police chief of operations is one of five people thought to have been killed on Sunday afternoon in an ambush as they drove through the village of Xitaxi, Muidumbe district, in Cabo Delgado province.
Suspected insurgents managed to stop the car and set it on fire. The car was carrying a group of five people, which included the police chief, named as Manuel Truca; his wife and his nephew, and a Mozambican worker for the French NGO Solidarités International. A statement from Solidarités International said the group was travelling to Palma.
Photos circulating on social media show two charred bodies, which cannot be independently identified, lying beside the burned husk of the car. The others are missing, presumed dead.
Later that afternoon, two people driving along the same length of the N380 highway near Xitaxi saw a car pulled over on the side of the road and were shot at by men the driver believed to be insurgents. The driver and passenger managed to escape to safety but the car was punctured with bullet holes which are visible in photos seen by Zitamar of the vehicle after the attack.
The N380 is the main road connecting Macomia to Cabo Delgado’s northern districts. Insurgent activity along this road could represent a serious threat to the ongoing efforts to restore the displaced population to Mocímboa da Praia and Palma further north.