No parts of Mozambique’s troubled northernmost province are under the control of insurgents, national police commander Bernardino Rafael said on Wednesday.
Rafael’s comments come after an increase in the frequency of attacks in the province of Cabo Delgado, home to multi-billion dollar gas projects led by oil majors such as Total.
Security analysts say in some cases insurgents have occupied parts of towns, villages or government buildings and hoisted a black and white flag.
“There are no areas that can be said to be in the hands of insurgents, what exist are areas prone to the incursions of criminals,” Rafael told reporters in the northern province of Nampula.
He said the situation in a number of areas, including Mocimboa da Praia – some 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the gas projects – was tense.
Initially, the attacks were claimed by terrorist group by the name of Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. More recently, however, Islamic State has claimed attacks via its news agencies.