File picture: SAPS (Twitter)

JOHANNESBURG –Three Ugandans are being held by Mozambican police over suspicions of being involved in terror attacks in the country’s gas-rich Cabo Delgado province which has been hit by an Islamist insurgency.

The East African reported that the suspects, two men and a woman, were picked up in a forested area on Friday, with police saying their arrest had enabled them to shut down several "training camps".

"These are the leaders of the group of criminals who have carried out attacks in Cabo Delgado," said Zacarias Nacute, police spokesman for neighbouring Nampula province.

Police claim that the suspects have admitted to belonging to Al-Shabaab in Uganda but deny being involved in any attacks in Mozambique.

Since late 2017 Maputo has been battling what is suspected to be an Islamist insurgency involving repeated attacks which have killed more than 100 people and dozens more police.

This is threatening government plans to develop its newly discovered oil and gas reserves in Cabo Delgado province, a boon for the country’s battling economy. Furthermore, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes in fear of more attacks.

In December Maputo charged five people, whom they accuse of leading the deadly attacks, with a range of charges. The group included two Ugandans, two Tanzanians and a South African who died in custody last week under mysterious circumstances.

African News Agency (ANA)