The security situation in Cabo Delgado remains precarious following several violent attacks in recent weeks.
- Sunday 27th May – 10 people beheaded with machetes in the district of Palma. Human Rights Watch reports that ‘according to local authorities, the attackers abducted residents from Monjane and Ulumbi village, near the coastal town of Palma, who were found beheaded on Sunday in nearby bush.’
- Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May – police kill nine ‘insurgents’ in raids over the weekend. According to Voice of America, ‘security forces killed two members of the group, preventing them from attacking a local village, before killing a further seven. Assault rifles and Arabic-language documents were recovered from the scene, the spokesman added.’
- Tuesday 5th June – seven people killed ‘in a dawn raid on Tuesday, [in which militants] burned down 164 houses and destroyed four cars during the assault on the village of Naude in the Macomia district‘, according to police spokesman.
- Wednesday 6th June – a further attack on Wednesday evening on the village of Namaluco in Quissanga left five people dead and several houses destroyed.
The discovery of large gas reserves in Mozambique and the associated potential for a sudden influx of wealth has heightened feelings of inequality and insecurity. Youth unemployment remains high, while locals have yet to see the benefits of the gas discovery.
The BBC has a very interesting background piece that explores how young men started to form fundamentalist groups in 2015. Endemic corruption and established smuggling networks overlapped and combined with existing zealots groups, to creating the backdrop to the current security situation.
The militant group responsible for recent incidents is known as Al Shabaab, but has no known link to the Somali group. The name means ‘the youth’ in Arabic. To distinguish between the two, we are tagging articles about the group in Mozambique as ‘Al Shabaab (Mozambique)’.
Suspected Islamists in Mozambique Attack More Villages https://t.co/5pT0HMsTmr
— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) May 29, 2018
Who is behind the extreme violence in northern Mozambique? ? pic.twitter.com/kwKy7QKH7q
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) May 30, 2018
Response + impact
In December last year, authorities responded to the ambush of a riot police convoy – ‘two helicopters and a navy ship shelled the village of Mitumbate near Mocimboa da Praia on 23 and 24 December 2017 with at least 50 casualties.‘
Responses such as this further fuel militants groups.
The latest terrorist attack in Quissanga, Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, started on Wednesday, 9 p.m. Army soldiers only arrived at the scene 5 a.m, on Thursday. The commander in chief, Mr. Filipe Nyusi is in Maputo… inaugurating a new shopping mall.
— Zenaida Machado (@zenaidamz) June 7, 2018
— Bloomberg Africa (@BBGAfrica) June 8, 2018
— Bloomberg Africa (@BBGAfrica) June 6, 2018
On 5 to 6 October 2017, there were prolonged armed clashes with police in the town of Mocímboa da Praia (between Palma and Pemba) in Cabo Delgado province. Since the first clash, there have been smaller clashes and attacks in the neighbouring districts. At the end of May 2018, villagers were reported killed in the area of Olumbi in the district of Palma. There are reports of an increased security presence in the region, including road blocks. You should check local and social media for updates before you travel to the area and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Please click here to read the rest of the advisory.
- News24: Suspected jihadists hack seven to death in Mozambique
- Al Jazeera: Attackers hack seven to death in Mozambique
- BBC News: How Mozambique’s smuggling barons nurtured jihadists
- Human Rights Watch: Suspected Armed Islamists in Mozambique Attack More Villages
- Voice of America: Police Kill 9 ‘Insurgents’ in Mozambique
- News24: Suspected jihadists kill at least 5 with knives and machetes in Mozambique
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