Suspected militants ambushed two vehicles traveling along the R763 motorway outside of Pundanhar (Cabo Delgado province), approximately 40km (25 mi) from Palma, on Saturday, September 12. Two vehicles traveling from Palma towards Mueda carrying civilians and goods were attacked; residents in nearby Pundanhar reportedly heard gunfire. Unconfirmed reports suggest at least two people were killed and one vehicle caught fire after crashing. Additional passengers were wounded and transported to a hospital in Nangade district. Security forces were deployed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at this time.
A heightened security presence and security operations are expected to continue in the area. Further militant attacks in Cabo Delgado province are highly likely in the medium term.
Cabo Delgado province has seen an increase in Islamist militant activity in 2020. While the most prominent militant group operating in the province is Ansar al-Sunna, also known as Al-Shabaab (not related to the Somali Al-Shabaab), Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP) have recently claimed responsibility for several significant attacks. At least 900 civilians have been killed, and at least 150,000 more have fled Cabo Delgado since the insurgency began in 2017.
Those in Cabo Delgado province are advised to monitor developments, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Some Western governments advise against all travel to parts of Cabo Delgado province. Travelers in or intending to travel to Cabo Delgado should seek professional security support due to the volatile security environment and potential for further attacks.
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