An insurgent stronghold south of Messalo river in Cabo Delgado has been captured by soldiers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).
The settlement allegedly known as the ‘Sheik Ibrahim Base’ was used as a training camp. The SAMIM forces rescued three elderly women and seized weapons, communication devices, videos, military equipment and training manuals.
The offensive was launched on 14 September 2021, and was a joint operation with the Mozambican Armed Defence Forces (FADM).
The women were handed over to Mozambican authorities for identification and care.
The operation, which culminated in the capture of the insurgent’s base, was long-awaited. Over the last few months, there have been several reports of military activity in Macomia district, with sightings of soldiers and reports of villagers being told to leave the area. All signs pointed to a major military offensive being prepared in southern Mocimboa da Praia district.
In June, Zitamar’s correspondent in Macomia reported that the population of Chai had been warned of an imminent offensive by Mozambican forces in the area spanning Miangalewa and Messalo river.
In August, Zitamar News reported that 30 military vehicles, allegedly carrying South African troops, were seen arriving in Macomia town. Alongside Rwandan and Mozambican forces, they were reportedly chasing terrorists who had fled the village of Mbau, southern Mocimboa da Praia district, and hiding in the bush near Messalo river.
On 14 September, the day SAMIM claimed it captured the insurgents’ base, Mediafax reported that the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces (FDS) were about to launch a clearing operation in Macomia district, targeting the area between Chai and Mucojo, along the Messalo river. Over the previous weekend, several people were seen arriving in Macomia town, having been told by the FDS to leave their villages.
In recent days, there have been reports of terrorist attacks in Quissanga district, apparently carried out by insurgents on the run following the offensive by SAMIM and Mozambican forces.
On 16 September, five civilians in Namaluco, in the administrative post of Mahate, Quissanga district, were killed by a group of terrorists armed with machetes. Local sources told Zitamar that the terrorists were on the run after their bases in the Mucujo area were attacked by the FDS. Local sources said 57 terrorists fled Mucojo, of whom 30 headed in the direction of Pemba, stopping at the village of Namaluco where they committed the crime.
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.