The Commander-General of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique allegedly stated on Thursday evening, November 19, that Mozambican Defense and Security Forces had recovered Muidumbe village (Cabo Delgado province) from militants. The village was reportedly under the control of militants since the end of October, and between November 6 and 8 militants reportedly beheaded dozens of civilians in the village. Sources reported on Thursday that 16 militants were killed during the security operation to take back Muidumbe; however, there was no immediate confirmation of casualties or clashes from the police spokesperson, and the exact circumstances surrounding the reclamation of Muidumbe remain unclear.
These reports follow recent claims that thousands of people have fled from Mueda (Cabo Delgado province) in recent days as of November 19, due to the threat of an imminent militant assault. Recent violent clashes in Muidumbe, some 41 km (25 miles) southeast of Mueda, along with suggestions that militant reinforcements have been moved closer to Mueda, has prompted people to flee. Militants reportedly warned Muidumbe residents that an attack on Mueda would come before Friday, November 20, although this remains unconfirmed.
Security operations are likely in the area in response to the reports. Further militant attacks are expected to continue to occur over the near term.
Cabo Delgado province has seen a significant increase in Islamist militant activity in 2020. At least 900 civilians have been killed, and at least 150,000 more have fled Cabo Delgado since the Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama insurgency began in 2017.
Those 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.