Jihadist attacks threaten relief efforts in cyclone-hit Mozambique

Aid is loaded onto a World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter to be deliver to Ibo Island and Quissanga in northern Mozambique on April 30 , 2019. - Heavy rain battered northern Mozambique on April 29, 2019, as residents and relief workers confronted devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth, the strongest cyclone to ever hit Africa, which killed 38 people and destroyed thousands of homes. (Photo by Emidio JOSINE / AFP)

Aid is loaded onto a World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter to be deliver to Ibo Island and Quissanga in northern Mozambique on April 30 , 2019. - Heavy rain battered northern Mozambique on April 29, 2019, as residents and relief workers confronted devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth, the strongest cyclone to ever hit Africa, which killed 38 people and destroyed thousands of homes. (Photo by Emidio JOSINE / AFP)

Suspected Islamist militants have killed four people in Mozambique’s northern Macomia district in fresh attacks that could pose a threat to relief efforts following last week’s powerful cyclone, a local journalist said Saturday.

“Alleged terrorists attacked Ntapuala and Banga Velha villages in the Macomia district where they killed a teacher who was on a  motorcycle and burned three other people,” the journalist.

The attacks which occurred on Friday, are the first since Cyclone Kenneth lashed the country’s northern region on January 25 and left at least 41 dead out of the more than 240,000 affected.

Aid agencies have in recent days been delivering aid to the cyclone survivors, but the attacks could hamper those efforts.

“We are aware of reports regarding insecurity in the area south of Macomia” a United Nations official told said, adding “we are doing everything we can to ensure that we are able to keep delivering humanitarian assistance to the people impacted by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth”.

Sections of gas-rich northern Mozambique have been hard hit by deadly raids by a jihadist group over the past 18 months with at least 200 people killed.

Radical Islamist fighters — reportedly seeking to impose Sharia law in the Muslim-majority province of Cabo Delgado — have terrorised remote communities, and Macomia district has been one of the targets.

Macomia was hit by the second cyclone to strike Mozambique in six weeks, after Cyclone Idai which killed more than 600 in the central parts of the country.

Thirty-three of the 41 Cyclone Kenneth deaths occurred in Macomia, and more than 85,225 people were affected.

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