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Cabo Delgado: People Return to Macomia after Fleeing Due to New Attacks

Cabo Delgado: People Return to Macomia after Fleeing Due to New Attacks

Some people who fled new attacks last week in two towns in the district of Macomia, in northern Mozambique, are returning, local community sources told Lusa today.

These are people who fled due to attacks in the town of Pangane and the Mucojo Administrative Post, 40 kilometres from the headquarters of the central district of Macomia, in Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique.

“I’m returning to Pangane. I’ve been in Macomia since 30 December. I need to see my field,” a 47-year-old woman told Lusa, waiting for passenger transport in the town of Macomia among other residents.

In addition to the return of the population, passenger transport is also running on the Macomia-Mucojo and Mucojo – Pangane sections, despite some fear.

“If the population is coming back, I have to come back too, I know it’s not easy to live with the rebels, but I have no other choice,” said a driver who was collecting passengers bound for Mucojo and Pangane from the Macomia headquarters.

Despite their return, the population is still afraid of new rebel incursions.

“I’m going because my field is there, but fear prevails, my children have all stayed in the Macomia headquarters,” lamented a 58-year-old father of five.

According to a survey by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), between 26 and 28 December, more than 430 people fled Mucojo and Pagane, Macomia district.

On 31 December, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for a new attack in Cabo Delgado, in which it said four more soldiers had died, the third of its kind in less than a month.

On the same channels, the terrorist group presents alleged evidence of clashes with the military, which it has been waging in Cabo Delgado recently, particularly in the Macomia district.

On Friday, the terrorist group claimed another attack in Cabo Delgado in which it said nine soldiers were killed.

Earlier, on 9 December, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for another attack in which five soldiers died, and also claimed to have beheaded a Christian civilian.

The alleged deaths have not been confirmed by the authorities.

Cabo Delgado province has been facing an armed insurgency for six years, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, which has led to a military response since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), liberating districts near gas projects.

The conflict has already displaced a million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and caused around 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.

On 22 November, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi called for decisions on the capacity of the Armed Forces in Cabo Delgado to respond, namely with reservists, in view of the planned withdrawal of foreign forces supporting the terrorist groups on the ground.

“Concrete decisions are needed on the response capacity of the Armed Forces in relation to their action in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado in the period after the withdrawal of friendly forces from SAMIM [the SADC mission in Mozambique] and Rwanda,” Nyusi asked at the opening of the XXIV Coordinating Council of the Ministry of National Defence.

“To this end, your reflection should also assess how best to capitalise on the wealth of reservists, committing them directly or indirectly to various missions for the defence of our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And the current reality justifies it,” he added.

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Last August, the SADC summit approved a 12-month extension of the mission in Cabo Delgado until July next year. Last July, an evaluation mission proposed the complete withdrawal of SAMIM troops in Cabo Delgado by July 2024, pointing out that the situation in the province “is now calm”, even though the risks remain.

In addition to SAMIM and the Mozambican government forces, Rwandan troops are fighting the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, operating on the perimeter of the area where the natural gas projects in the Rovuma basin are located.




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