New 'Islamist' attacks in north Mozambique

Three new attacks allegedly by radicalised Muslim youth in northern Mozambique have left one dead and three injured in recent days, sources told AFP on Wednesday.

A spate of violence has erupted in the region since October when an apparent jihadist assault targeted a police station and military post, leaving two officers and 14 attackers dead.

In that attack, dozens of armed men, known locally as "al-Shabaab" - Arabic for "youth" though with no confirmed link to the Somali jihadist group of the same name - were involved.

The latest assaults, on Saturday and Sunday, targeted two villages near the towns of Mocimboa da Praia and Palma, not far from the border with Tanzania, said sources on condition of anonymity.

Police are not allowed to speak to the press, but the attacks and toll were confirmed by local residents who said small farms were targeted.

Armed incidents and kidnappings have increased in the region since last year, fuelled by long-suppressed frustrations in the majority-Muslim north.

At least 300 Muslims have been arrested and several mosques forced to close.

President Filipe Nyusi has also fired the heads of the army and the intelligence agencies, blaming them for having missed warning signs of the unrest.

Mozambique has claimed a proud record of peaceful coexistence of different religions, but the country's north has largely been excluded from the economic growth of the last 20 years.

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