Seven operators from Wagner Group, a private military contractor company with close ties to Russia, have been killed in two separate attacks in Mozambique. The Russian contractors were killed and reportedly some of them beheaded after they were ambushed alongside 20 government troops in the north of the country, according to Carta de Mocambique newspaper. Three army vehicles were set on fire in the attack on Sunday.
That is the second deadly incident in Mozambique related to the Wagner Group. Earlier, they have lost up to five operators. It’s estimated that Wagner Group around 200 operators in the country. They were deployed in the southern African state from Russia in September, along with three attack helicopters and crew in order to provide support to government forces, the Times reported on October 2.
Both attacks were ambushes in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado state, where ISIS first announced its presence in June this year. In the second attack, which occurred on October 27, an eyewitness told to The Moscow Times that ISIS militants placed barricades across the road then began firing on the convoy. Four Russian soldiers were shot dead at the scene and then beheaded, according to the source, while a fifth was shot and wounded and later died in hospital.
The first attack, which was previously unreported, happened on October 7 and saw two Russian contractors shot dead in the same province. Again, the attack was the result of an ambush and also involved Mozambique security forces, though it is unclear if any of them were killed or how many were killed.
Russia has been supplying arms and military equipment to Mozambique to help in its fight against Islamist insurgent groups since signing a pact in early January 2017. However, the deal did not stipulate the supply of fighters and as recently as October 8 Moscow denied it had any troops stationed in the country.