MAPUTO– Unknown assailants, believed to be Islamic fundamentalists, attacked the village of Monjane, in Palma district, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, on Sunday night, according to media reports.

The independent news sheet, Mediafax, reported Tuesday that the attackers killed the village community leader, who they accused of providing information on the Islamist group to the defence and security forces.

A Radio Mozambique report cited Palma district administrator Davide Machimbuco as saying that the attackers have in recent days decapitated ten people in the Olumbi administrative post, of which Monjane is part.

Machimbuco said information on the matter had been referred to the Cabo Delgado provincial police command.

However, Radio Mozambique said when it asked provincial police commander Augusto Guta, he said that information on the security situation in Palma, and the neighbouring districts of Mocimboa da Praia and Nangade, is now being handled by the General Command of the police in Maputo.

The police never refer to Islamists, and describe the attacks simply as criminal acts.

The fundamentalist insurgency began on Oct 5 last year, with attacks on police installations in Mocimboa da Praia. This has been the district most affected, but the raids have spilled over the district boundaries into Palma and Nangade.

The group is known variously as Al-Sunna and Al-Shabaab but is not necessarily linked to the Somali terrorist group of that name.

Charges have been laid against 234 alleged members of the group, arrested in an earlier police operation, and they are expected to go on trial in the near future.