The Mozambican defence and security forces claim to have killed 270 islamist terrorists in the region of Awasse, in Mocimboa da Praia district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to the website “Noticias de Defesa de Mocambique”, which acts as an unofficial mouthpiece for the Defence Ministry.
The Awasse fighting lasted from Friday through to Sunday, and the Mozambican forces did not lose a single soldier. On Sunday the force that drove the terrorists out of Awasse returned to Mueda, where the headquarters of the Northern Operational Command is located. The troops took with them seven trucks loaded with equipment captured from the jihadists.
According to a report in the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the force that took Awasse consisted not only of members of the defence forces, but also of veterans of Mozambique’s national independence war who have a deep knowledge of the area.
The fighting extended to Chinda village, at the Mbau crossroads, on the road to Macomia district.
One fighter, in a taped interview circulating on Mozambican social media, said “We’ve come back clean. The material we seized is coming with the soldiers who accompanied us. The insurgents are nothing, we’ve killed them”.
Clearing the jihadists out of Awasse looks like the prelude to an offensive to regain control of Mocimboa da Praia town and port, which have been in terrorist hands since mid-August.
The capture of Awasse follows the terrorists’ failure to capture Macomia town last Wednesday. A numerically superior Mozambican force, estimated at 200 troops, drove back the 80 or so jihadists. There are no figures on how many islamists or members of the government forces died in this attack.
Unable to take the town, the jihadists have continued to raid villages in Macomia district. According to the newsheet “Carta de Mocambique”, the terrorists on Sunday beheaded two people in Ntapaula village, six kilometres from the town.