At least 18 people have died in clashes between Islamist militants and the country’s defence and security forces over the past five days in Mozambique’s gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado, media reports say.
Twelve of the dead are reported to be insurgents, one was a member of the defence forces and the other five were civilians.
Citing unnamed military sources, the independent newspaper Carta de Mocambique said that insurgents attacked Olumbi village, in Palma district on Saturday, where they murdered a woman and vandalised private property destroying significant quantities of food, including rice and dried fish.
Members of the defence and security forces, with the support of local residents, pursued the raiders, killed four of them and captured another four. It was during this engagement that a soldier was killed.
Clashes continued in Olumbi on Monday, when a further eight insurgents were shot dead.
Last Friday, militants attacked Nacutuco village, in Macomia district, where they killed four civilians and seriously injured a fifth.
One of the four civilians was beheaded, one was burnt alive, and the other two were shot at point blank range.
All the victims were people who had fled from the village a year ago, but had recently returned.
The faceless insurgency in Cabo Delgado began just over two years ago and so far more than 300 people have died.
The Islamic State group is said to be operating in northern Mozambique under the umbrella of its so-called Central Africa Province branch, which it declared in April. But it is not clear if they are behind the recent attacks.