“This is a situation of conflict between man and animals,” provincial police spokesperson Mário Adolfo told local media, adding that the victims were not in any protected area.
The incident occurred in the village of Xinavane, 10 kilometres from the headquarters of Macomia, where the victims had sheltered after fleeing from rebel attacks in Mocujo village three years ago.
The victims, who included two children, were surprised by the jumbo while working in an agricultural field, another source from the local force fighting rebels in the region said.
Every year, Mozambican authorities report cases of deaths, injuries and destruction of crops by animals, and mechanisms have been developed for the population to drive them away, at least until inspectors intervene.
A total of 97 Mozambicans died and 66 were injured in 2020 in recorded attacks (others go unreported) by wild animals, mostly crocodiles, according to the latest data from the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC).
Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas but has since 2017, been terrorised by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), about 800 000 people have been internally displaced by the conflict while about 4 000 have lost their lives.
Since July last year, an offensive by government troops with the support of Rwanda, which was later joined by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has freed areas which had been captured by rebels, whose flight has however seen new attacks in other districts used as passage or refuge. AIM-New Ziana