Catholic Peace Entity Reports Renewed Attacks Near Mozambican Military Base

Victims of militant attacks in Cabo Delgado. Credit: Denis Hurley Peace Institute

Militants operating in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province have launched fresh attacks in the province, this time targeting a region close to a military base in the country, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) has reported.

Local sources informed the peace entity of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference that they fled their villages in Macomia, a city located in Cabo Delgado, when they heard heavy gunfire on the night of March 24.

“Since 18:00 there were shots and we all went to sleep in the woods,” an inhabitant told DHPI from a hideout at a time that the charity says there was still no official information on the situation. 

“The same source said that the shots began to be heard from the area where the Mozambican armed forces and the SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique) troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, are based,” DHPI says in a report shared with ACI Africa on Thursday, March 31. 

“The escape of the population was justified with the fears that armed rebels could return to the village and district office, as happened in 2020, although there are currently troops guarding the area,” the charity foundation reports. 


According to the peace entity of SACBC, the population of Macomia fears that it will become risky to access the fields around the village. 

Another source, linked to the local militias, told DHPI that he was at home preparing a suitcase of clothes to head to Pemba, the provincial capital, due to renewed fears of insecurity in the village.

Before the conflict spread, Macomia was one of the main commercial and transport hubs in the province, being located in the middle of the only paved road connecting the North and South of Cabo Delgado, DHPI reports.

The district is about 200 kilometers South of Palma and Mocímboa da Praia, an area of gas projects, reconquered with the support of Rwandan forces in July 2021. Rebel groups fleeing the military offensive are suspected to be responsible for attacks that have taken place elsewhere in Cabo Delgado. 

The DHPI report indicates that in Cabo Delgado’s far North, near the border with Tanzania, villages in Nangade district have been the target of rebel incursions since February. 

More in Africa

In just three months to February, the number of people in Mozambique who have been internally displaced due to the war in Cabo Delgado, rose by 7 percent to 784,000 people, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said in its latest report on the conflict.

The IOM document seen by ACI Africa indicates that in a survey carried out in January and February there were 49,100 more people recorded than in the previous one, concluded in November.

IOM has highlighted attacks by armed rebels in the areas of Nangade, Meluco, Macomia and in the Quirimbas archipelago, as a leading cause for the increase in the number of internally displaced persons in Cabo Delgado.

Most families fleeing the war are living in host communities, while about one quarter are in special camps, the document explains. 

The capital of Cabo Delgado Province, Pemba, is the district hosting the most internally displaced people (152,000), followed by Metuge (124,000), an adjacent area across the bay. 


At the other end of Cabo Delgado, the biggest destination is Mueda (85,000 internally displaced) in the North, close to the border with Tanzania. 

Children continue to account for around half of the displaced population, and food and shelter are the main needs, the IOM report indicates.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.