A GROUP of insurgents linked to the Islamic State decapitated a person and set fire to dozens of houses in the village of Nanduli in the northernmost province of Mozambique.
Sunday's attack is the first of its kind on the district of Ancuabe located in the tourist hotspot of Cabo Delgado, famed for its resorts, historical sites, and natural delights.
“My family is in the woods in Ancuabe”, Ismael Sadik, a resident of Ancuabe, who is currently in the city of Pemba, told VOA when confirming the attack, saying that the attack had initially been reported as a “rumor”.
Another resident stated that some families from the Nanduli village, had spent the night walking from the site of the attack.
One survivor said that the insurgents shot into another part of the village, where his house was and came across terrorists while fleeing with some members of his family.
“I saw them shoot as I fled,” explained another Ancuabe resident.
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The Police of the Republic of Mozambique in the neighbouring district of Pemba reiterated on Monday that the Ancuabe attack was a “false alarm”, and appealed to the population not to be agitated.
President Filipe Nyusi acknowledged the attack, which forced hundreds of people – many of them displaced by violence from other districts – to spend the night in the woods.
During a virtual meeting, Nyusi said the insurgents were brought to a halt when the Mozambican Defense and Security Force arrived “much later” at the scene of the attack.
This was contracted by local sources.
One said: “It is controlled at the headquarters, but in the locality where my family is, it is not controlled at all. Yesterday they burned and killed in that locality.
"And no one is there, all people run away. We cannot communicate with them, only with other people who are not even family members. So tell me, is the situation under control there? And a lie, the military is only running on the roads and at Headquarters. If they were there, there would be no scandal," the man told local news site Moz24Horas.
Out of 735,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Mozambique forced to flee their homes due to violence and Non-State Armed Groups, 663,000 are in Cabo Delgado.
Ancuabe district is home to the largest number of people displaced from insurgent attacks after Metuge, in the province, according to the UNHCR.
It is the first attack of its kind on the district.
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The Islamic State – known as IS-Moz State – claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Jasmine Opperman, an expert in the analysis of data from armed conflicts and who follows the conflict in Cabo Delgado.
A new Islamic State base is said to have been established in the area about a year ago, according to local sources.
The insurgency broke out in 2017, leaving at least 4,000 dead, according to the Armed Conflict and Events Data Project, and about 850,000 homeless.
The attack is the latest in a series of atrocities carried out by ISIS fanatics in the African country, which has prompted the US to send its special forces there.
A total of 25 countries have joined forces and rallied 1,000 troops to beat jihadists out of Mozambique after the Palma ISIS massacre in 2021.
Bodies of 12 beheaded white expats were found tied up under a tree after the ISIS hotel massacre in Palma.
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Insurgents have been shifting into Macomia-West; Meluco-North and East and Quissanga-West, Opperman said on her Twitter page.
"Recent attacks show groups advancing further south. Claims that a new cell executed the attack at Nanduli remain speculation," she added.
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