The "bandits" killed two policemen in a string of attacks on police stations in Mocimboa de Praia, a small town in northern Mozambique. The ensuing gun-battle left 14 attackers dead.

Local media said three police stations in the sleepy town, 80 kilometres from  natural gas fields, were targeted. (AFP/archive)
Local media said three police stations in the sleepy town, 80 kilometres from natural gas fields, were targeted. (AFP/archive) (AFP)

Gunmen launched a string of attacks on police stations in a small town in northern Mozambique killing two policemen but 14 of the gunmen were slain, police said on Saturday.    

Police have been slow in releasing details of the attacks which occurred on Thursday and Friday in Mocimboa de Praia.

“We recorded 14 deaths and several bandits were wounded,” police spokesman Inacio Dina said.

Police said the attacks were coordinated. 

Local media said three police stations in the sleepy town, 80 kilometres from  natural gas fields, were targeted.

Homegrown militants

At a news conference on Thursday, Dina suggested the attackers were linked to a homegrown militants but gave no details.

Police have so far arrested 10 other gunmen, recovered four firearms and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

“The motive of the attacks is still unknown but in the past police arrested some religious leaders of Islamic extremist sects,” Dina said.

“The way they operated makes us believe that there is a structure behind the group,” Dina said, but ruled out any links “between the attackers and external forces”.

“There is no evidence that they are members of Shabaab or Boko Haram. According to the information gathered, all those captured or killed are Mozambicans,” said the police spokesman speaking from the capital Maputo.

The attacks lasted two days, until the police dispatched special forces from Pemba, 500 kilometres away.

Armed clashes and assassinations of politicians are not uncommon in Mozambique.

On-and-off clashes have occurred in recent years between government troops and armed militias loyal to opposition party and former rebel movement Renamo.

But a truce unilaterally declared by Renamo in December has been observed with only minor breaches.

Source: AFP