Sunni Islamists take a key port in Northern Mozambique
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Sunni Islamists in Northern Mozambique have taken a key port in Mocimboa da Praia. This is another setback for the armed forces of Mozambique that appear bereft of how to tackle the growing Islamist insurgency. Therefore, regional nations including South Africa and Tanzania are concerned by the developing crisis.
It is hoped that Mozambique doesn’t become another Nigeria where the inefficiencies of the central government and the armed forces are abundantly clear. Equally, Tanzania strengthened its border areas with Mozambique on the fears of infiltration. After all, the Islamist insurgency in Nigeria spread to the regional nations of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
The BBC reports, “Attacks began in 2017 in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, but escalated this year after the group responsible, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, pledged allegiance to IS.”
The port taken by Islamists is near major natural gas projects. This reality hints at bigger goals in the ensuing Islamist insurgency. Hence, with the stakes being extremely high – and private security firms seeming unable to contain the crisis – it appears that Tanzania and South Africa will increasingly involve themselves in supporting Mozambique.
Reuters reports, “Islamist insurgents have captured a heavily-defended port in the far northern Mozambique town of Mocimboa da Praia, close to the site of natural gas projects worth some $60 billion, local media reported on Wednesday.”
It is essential that Mozambique builds up counter-insurgency units and focuses on regional grievances. At the same time, greater transparency is needed at all levels of the armed forces and government.
If not, the crisis threatens to spiral further and draw in other nations.
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