Jihadists in northeastern Mozambique had occupied the small islands of Mecungo and Vamisse in the Indian Ocean, the France-Press Agency (AFP) reported on September 11, citing several eyewitnesses.
The two islands were hosting refugees, who have recently fled the port town of Mocimboa da Praia . Jihadists captured the town on August 12.
One eyewitness, a man who was taking refuge at Mecungo, told the AFP that the jihadists arrived in the island at night in small fishing boats, forced the people flee then burned the houses. According to the eyewitness, the jihadists didn’t hurt anyone.
“They got us together and told us to run away if we want to live. I think everyone left the island,” another eyewitness told the news agency.
The jihadists are likely affiliated with ISIS, who has been launching attacks in the northeastern Cabo Delgado province since last March. The group’s attacks are threatening a large gas exploration project with the cost of $60bn.
Mozambican government forces are now struggling to recapture Mocimboa da Paria, which was used before as a port to deliver supplies for the gas project. Once the town is secured, the jihadists will not likely be able to stay in Mecungo and Vamisse islands.
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