Insurgents still in charge of Miangalewa despite FDS offensive

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Insurgents are still occupying the village of Miangalewa, in the Cabo Delgado district of Muidumbe, despite claims on social media that armed forces were acting against them this week, Zitamar has learned.

The insurgents first attacked the village on 11 May, killing five people and burning two of the bodies. They left on Wednesday, 13 May — but returned on Saturday, 16 May, and have controlled the village ever since.

The attackers arrived silently on 16 May, not with gunfire as they usually do — and villagers awoke that morning to find ten corpses around the village, mostly beheaded, according to the head of a household in Macomia which received relatives fleeing Miangalewa in the wake of the attacks.

Today, a source travelling from Xitaxi to Macomia told Zitamar News that he didn’t want to travel through the a route passing through Miangalewa, as the village was still occupied, and instead took a longer route through the bush to the village of Litamanda, where he boarded a minibus heading to Macomia.

The source, who farms fields near Xitaxi, said he had left the village to go to the town of Macomia in part because of hunger — saying there is nothing to eat, and people are going hungry. The source in Xitaxi and another in Litamanda said the insurgents played football on the pitch of the Mambas de Miangalewa football team on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Following the 11 May attack on Miangalewa, local sources complained of a lack of reaction from the Mozambican armed forces. One Litamanda resident said members of the security and defence forces (FDS) there have been known to flee into the bush with the local population. The Muidumbe district headquarters, Muidumbe Sede, also has an FDS position which has not responded to incursions, the source said.

With the advent of a privately operated air force, however, that may be changing. Pinnacle News, a news outlet operating on social media, today published footage filmed in Litamanda on 18 May of helicopters firing on suspected insurgent positions. Pro-government voices on social media said on Thursday that the FDS have been in action around Miangalewa in recent days.

This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED

© 2020, ZITAMAR NEWS. All rights reserved.

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