Mozambique: Armed forces gun down rebel from group that attacked vehicle convoy

Mozambique’s armed defence and security forces on Wednesday announced the “shooting down” of a member of the group that attacked a convoy of vehicles in Macomia district on Sunday, in a rebel incursion that left at least three dead.

Sunday’s rebel incursion targeted a convoy of seven vehicles on National Road 380, one of the province’s main roads, and as a result, a driver of a tanker truck was fatally shot, with the other two deaths resulting from the crash of the heavy vehicle, Omar Saranga, coordinator of the Northern Operational Theatre, explained to state media.

“Our forces, alerted and within their high sense of combat readiness, took to the ground on patrol and pursuit from the day of the ambush until the following day. The deployed forces, in coordination with the local force, clashed with the enemy, in an agricultural field of the village of Nova Zambézia, where they killed a terrorist and the rest escaped into the forest,” Saranga said.

The coordinator of the Northern Operational Theatre reiterated that the rebels are “weakened” and in “stampede”, recalling the operation that culminated with the assault on the main base of the insurgents called Catupa, in Macomia, at the end of last month.

“The terrorists have been driven out of their base in the Catupa woodlands and are on the run scattered in small groups. To survive, they carry out terrorist raids and loot food products in the villages,” concluded Omar Saranga.

Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas and has been terrorised since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

There are about 800,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and about 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.

Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops with Rwandan support, later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has allowed areas where there was a rebel presence to recover, but their flight has provoked new attacks in other districts used as passage or refuge.