Helicopters return to Macomia as residents remain in hiding


Helicopter gunships returned to the skies above Macomia in Cabo Delgado this morning, where locals remain in hiding outside the town due to the continued presence of unidentified armed men setting fire to houses and market stalls.

Insurgents invaded the town early on Thursday morning, vandalising the district administrator’s residence and a branch of BCI bank. Troops stationed in the town are said to have responded, with the help of reinforcements arriving from Pemba and support from helicopter gunships operated by private military company DAG — but the town is still far from peaceful, according to eyewitnesses on Friday morning.

One man hiding near the town tried to return at 5am this morning, but turned around when he met more people coming back, who told him houses were on fire in the Nanga A neighbourhood.

Another person who spoke to Zitamar shortly before 9am said he also had returned to the bush. “There are men there — we don’t know if they’re the same or if they’re soldiers, but the house of the secretary of the Nanga B neighbourhood has been burned, as well as other houses and stalls,” he said. “We can only see smoke. We don’t know exactly what’s happening, but there’s a lot of damage.”

Those hiding in the bush also say they have been in danger from indiscriminate fire from the DAG-operated helicopters, which returned on Friday, according to one of the local sources.

A report from Carta de Moçambique on Friday morning said the attackers had raised the flag of the Islamic State on Thursday in the commercial quarter of Nanga, the town’s most populous neighbourhood.

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.

© 2020, Zitamar LTD. All rights reserved.


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