Armed group kidnaps three women in Meluco district

Armed group kidnaps three women in Meluco district
Armed group kidnaps three women in Meluco district

Africa-Press – Mozambique. An armed group kidnapped three women on Saturday and Sunday in Meluco district, Cabo Delgado, local sources in this northern part of Mozambique told Lusa on Monday.

The southern area of the province has been the latest focus of the armed insurgency that has been affecting the region for nearly five years.

Over the weekend, an armed group attacked some villages, where they burned houses, kidnapping two women in the first village and another in the second, said one of the sources, speaking from Macomia, a village where he fled in search of safety.

According to the same source, after the March and April attacks, the populations of the two communities were now returning in the expectation that security was better.

“We were returning because everything seemed fine, but we were taken by surprise: my family and I will no longer return now,” he said, adding that he continues to pack his bags to continue his journey to Pemba.

Another source said that although there are no reports of deaths, people are fleeing.

“Both me and others, we are looking for safe places. Here in the interior, the situation is weaker”, he said, speaking from the district headquarters of Meluco, 54 kilometres from National Road 1.

Meluco district had been the scene of another kidnapping in late May when an armed group hijacked a health care technician.

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

There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and about 4,000 deaths, according to the conflict registration project ACLED.

Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops with Rwandan support that was later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has recovered areas where rebels were present, but their escape has provoked further attacks in other districts used as a temporary passage or refuge.

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