Sources operating in the region report that suspected Mozambique-based militants attacked the southern border village of Kitaya (Mtwara Region) in the early hours of Thursday, October 15, causing an unknown number of casualties. Around 200 suspected Ansar al-Sunna militants reportedly crossed the border overnight on Wednesday, October 14, before staging simultaneous attacks on several targets in and around Kitaya, including a cashew nut processing facility, a local medical center, and a Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) outpost, as well as local government offices currently being used for election purposes.
Local media sources reported that multiple people, including several TPDF personnel, were killed in the attack, but the number of casualties has not been verified. The Tanzanian government is also yet to comment on the attack.
Military-led security operations are likely in the Kitaya area and elsewhere in the Mtwara Region in the medium term, with the possibility of associated disruptions and travel restrictions in some areas.
Tanzania has increased security along its border with Mozambique since the emergence of the Islamist insurgency in the neighboring Cabo Delgado province in 2017. Although militants in the region have staged few attacks in Tanzania, with incidents being limited to attacks on remote border communities, the government has previously announced several major security operations in areas bordering Cabo Delgado in order to secure the border and shut down alleged smuggling routes.
Following the deployment of additional TPDF units to the border in May, the Tanzanian government ordered the evacuation of some border communities in the Ruvuma, Mtwara, and Lindi regions in August ahead of planned security operations.
Thursday's attack comes amid heightened political tensions in Tanzania ahead of the country's general election on October 28, with increasing concerns over the potential for political violence in the run-up to and during the polls. However, although election offices were targeted, it remains unclear whether the attack was linked to the election.
Those in areas near the border with Mozambique are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. During the election period, travelers should remain apprised of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and election-related events as a precaution, and avoid discussing politically-sensitive topics in public or on social media.