The death of a second influential leader of the Islamist insurgency in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province has been announced.

President Filipe Nyusi said late last week that an insurgency figurehead who he called only 'Muhamudu' was killed last week during a counter insurgency operation carried out by government and Rwanda forces.

The man, he said, was involved in the massacre of 51 young men in Muidumbe district two years ago after they refused to join the militant group.

Explaining the context, Mozambique's head of police Bernadino Rafael said: “This man was an individual who was responsible for spreading terror in Cabo Delgado since the start of the terrorist phenomenon. He was killed in Limala, nine kilometres from Mbau administrative post."

The chief of police said Muhamudu and his companion, named Abdulaim, murdered the youths in Muidumbe, adding that Abdulaim was killed in in late 2020. Days earlier, armed forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) stated that a person called Rajab Awadhi Ndanjili — and also known as Sheikh Njili North — was killed when an insurgency base was overrun at Chitama, in Nangade district, which borders Tanzania.

The SADC is part of the Southern African Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), which described Ndanjili as a Mozambican native who was "a leader of the religious sect of Al Sunnah wa Jama'ah", one of various names used by the Mozambican insurgents.

The mission said Ndanjili — from a village in Cabo Delgado — was a key figure "in the recruitment and indoctrination of members of the group".

SAMIM has been active in Mozambique since September, with its original mandate due to end on 15 October.

However, at a meeting of SADC leaders last week, it was decided to make the mission open-ended.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the coming few months "will be critical in shaping the trajectory of the SADC intervention in Mozambique".

Rafael said this week, meanwhile, that Mariano Nhongo, leader of the Renamo Military Junta — which split from the opposition Renamo party in 2019 — had died during operations by the country's Defence & Security Forces in Sofala province.

Commenting on Nhongo's death, Jasmine Opperman, a conflict analyst with Acled, said: "The question is if this will bring much-needed stability in Sofala, Tete, and Manica provinces."

A tweet from analysts at South Africa-based Oxford Economics Africa, remarked that "many members of the armed opposition splinter group have surrendered recently, so Mr Nhongo's death could mark the end of the conflict."

Elsewhere, power has been restored to the town of Palma which was attacked by Islamist insurgents earlier this year and is close to the home of TotalEnergies' mothballed Mozambique LNG construction site at Afungi.

While Afungi itself was not attacked, hotel accommodation frequented by locals and expatriates — such as the well-known Amarula Hotel, were targeted.

Trashed: In this image made from video, a bar area is seen inside the looted Amarula Palma hotel in Palma, Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique Photo: AP/SCANPIX

According to state-owned utility EDM, electricity infrastructure damaged by militants has been repaired and replaced, leading to a resumption of power supplies to Palma on 8 October.

These are short terms fixed, with EDM saying that permanent solutions are being planned, aided by World Bank funding.

Last month, said the utility, it had also restored electricity supplies to Mueda, Mocomboa da Praia and Nangade districts, as armed forces from Mozambique, Rwanda and the SADC improved security in these areas, offering encouragement for some civilians to return.

Protection: Rwandan soldiers on patrol near TotalEnergies' Afungi complex in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique Photo: AFP/SCANPIX

The Rwandan Defence Forces are now heavily involved in maintaining security in Palma and Afungi, fresh from recapturing Mocimboa da Praia port from the insurgents earlier this year.

The ultimate aim is to persuade TotalEnergies that the area is safe enough for it to revoke force majeure on Mozambique LNG and resume construction activities.

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