On Thursday, May 28, unidentified militants attacked the town of Macomia in Cabo Delgado province. The attack is believed to have lasted several hours, with government buildings reportedly destroyed, and the inhabitants fleeing the area. Simultaneous attacks were reported in the nearby villages of N'nanga, Ceta, Machova, Chai, and Litamanga. The attacks were eventually repelled by the Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (FADM), with the help of private security forces flown in from Pemba. However, there have been limited communications from the district since the attack and several local sources suggested that an unknown number of militants remained in Macomia as late as Friday morning (local time), May 29.
The attack came as the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Cabo Delgado on Friday, warning against all travel to the districts of Mueda, Nangade, Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Meluco, Macomia, Quissanga and Ibo, and against all but essential travel to Ancuabe and Metuge (with the exception of the city of Pemba) in the province. The FCO had previously only warned against all travel to Mocimboa da Praia.
Security operations are to be expected in the near term in the vicinity of the incident. 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.
Individuals in Cabo Delgado province are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant activity, 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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