MAPUTO, Mozambican police have confirmed that the armed group which attacked the Olumbe administrative post in Palma district in the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Saturday night killed five people.

Media reports Tuesday quoted a police spokesperson in Palma as saying that another 11 people were injured, eight of them seriously. Two motorcycles were set on fire and destroyed, one belonging to the head of the Olumbe administrative post, and the other to the local head of police.

The police spokesperson revealed that there had been a second attack in the locality of Quissengue, in which 32 houses and three informal shops were burnt down. There are no reports of any death in Quissengue

The police say they cannot yet confirm whether the attackers belong to the same group which attacked police installations in the neighbouring district of Mocimboa da Praia on Oct 5, last year.

The Cabo Delgado police spokesperson, Augusto Guta, said the attacking group was armed with only one firearm, an AK-47 assault rifle, plus a number of knives and similar weapons. He believed that had looted shops because the group was short of food.

Meanwhile, the general commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, who is visiting Tanzania, on Monday signed an agreement with his Tanzanian counterpart, Simon Nyankoro Sirro, for co-operation in the fight against terrorism, and cross-border crimes.

The protocol signed by the two commanders states that the Mozambican and Tanzanian police will co-operate in the fight against economic and financial crimes; corruption; counterfeit and forgery; the theft and trafficking of guns, munitions and explosives; the theft of radioactive, nuclear, biological or chemical materials; and armed robbery.

The list of crimes that the two forces will cooperate against also includes people trafficking, illegal immigration, cyber crimes and stock theft.

Perhaps most important of all, the two police forces must give a combined response to incursions by terrorist groups. This clause will allow the Mozambican defence and security forces to call on Tanzanian support for the fight against Islamic fundamentalists in Cabo Delgado. Although most captured members of the group are Mozambicans, some are Tanzanian citizens.