The terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for an attack in northern Mozambique close to the site of gas projects worth $60 billion. On Monday, militants attacked the town of Mocimboa da Praia having occupied some locations, including an army barracks, before being expelled by security forces yesterday.
Using its news agency, Amaq, Daesh took credit for the attack in which up to a dozen soldiers and police are said to have been killed or injured. “Military sources told Amaq that Islamic State fighters attacked five army and police barracks in the town,” the agency said, adding that weapons, ammunition and other equipment had also been seized.
According to BBC News, this is the first time that Mozambican jihadists have attacked a major town, as they have previously targeted villages and farms. Witnesses reported that the fighters had blocked all exit routes with some reporting that residents had been detained in a mosque.
The Cabo Delgado province, where the town is located, has gone through a three-year insurgency in which hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced.
In 2010, Mozambique discovered huge gas reserves in Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado. Last October, ExxonMobil unveiled plans to invest more than $500m in the initial construction phase of its gas project in the region.
Esta agora! É uma que circula nas redes sociais mostrando supostos homens armados que estão desde madrugada de hoje atacando a vila de #Quissanga. Carregam bandeira do Estado Islâmico no commando distrital da polícia. #CaboDelgado #Mocambique pic.twitter.com/YuquJPbKxX
— Alexandre (@AllexandreMZ) March 25, 2020
As of today, it has also been reported that Daesh militants have attacked the village of Quissanga, with images circulating on social media showing armed fighters waving the black Daesh standard outside the local police station.
— Lotfullah Najafizada (@LNajafizada) March 25, 2020
In a separate development, Daesh militants in Afghanistan attacked a Sikh temple (gurdwara) in the capital Kabul today, killing 25 people. Afghan security forces reportedly killed the gunmen in an hour-long siege. The attack was also claimed officially by the terrorist organisation.