HOHANNESBURG (AP) – More than a week of fierce fighting, including beheadings in the streets, and the battle for the northern Mozambican city of Palma have highlighted the South African insurgency and the threat of its multibillion-dollar investment.
Here’s a look at some of the challenges facing the rebel group Mozambique.
WHO ARE BY?
They are mostly unemployed young Muslim men from Cape Delgado, the northernmost coastal state of the Indian Ocean.
For centuries, most of the people there were Muslims who traded with Swahili sailors and coexisted with the Catholicism brought by the Portuguese colonial rulers.
Despite its rich natural resources, the province has been one of Mozambique’s least developed, with low levels of education and health care.
In recent years, some unemployed youth have studied abroad on scholarships from Muslim organizations, “locals say many have returned to preach a more radical form of Islam.” In 2017, violence erupted against government targets by several small bands that often used knives to kill police officers and officials.
The rebels have reached several hundred, they use motorcycles and are now well-armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Military experts say many weapons come from abroad.
WHAT ARE THEY CALLED?
They are known locally as “al-Shabab” – the Arabic word for “youth”, but it seems to be just a convenient nickname, as they have nothing to do with the Somali jihadist rebels of the same name.
For several years, the rebels were not affiliated with any group, but in 2019, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for their attacks, calling them the Islamic State of Central Africa.
IP also posts photos and videos of militants often standing by the group’s black flag. A video posted this week shows them wearing camouflage, black shirts, red scarves, speaking Swahili, and Arabic.
According to the Conflict Resolution տվյալների Event Database, the number of attacks has risen to more than 838 since 2017, up from more than 500 last year.
More than 2600 people were killed. The humanitarian crisis has also increased sharply. According to UN organizations, from 90,000 displaced by the beginning of 2020 to 670,000 so far, more than 670,000 According to the World Food Program, more than 900,000 people in the area need food assistance.
After years of strikes, rebels captured the port city of Mokimboa da Praia in August and retained it. They attacked smaller towns in the surrounding area.
According to a report approved by the Catholic Bishop of Pemba, where hundreds of thousands of people fled, they beheaded 50 people on a football field in a massacre. Insurgents target government offices, kill local officials, and rob banks.
HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT RESPOND?
In Maputo, southern Mozambique, the government of President Philippe Nussi has launched an anti-terrorist attack by the National Police and Armed Forces.
It was also used by a South African-based private military organization, the Dyck Advisory Group, which sent helicopters and other planes to find the rebels and attack.
Because insurgents often mix with civilians, military action is difficult. All sides – insurgents, government forces – mercenaries, committed atrocities, according to a March 2 Amnesty International report. The government and Dyke’s group deny the allegations, saying they are investigating.
MOZ AMBICA HELPS
Last month, the United States declared the Mozambican rebels a terrorist organization and sent special operations officers to conduct a two-month exercise for the Mozambican Marines.
Portugal says it is sending 60 officers for training, and said the European Union is considering military assistance.
Mozambique is a member of the 16-nation South African Development Community, which closely monitors instability. The group has had several meetings with insurgents, but Mozambique has not yet sought direct military assistance from neighboring countries, including South Africa and Zimbabwe.
WHAT IS THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY?
Violence by rebels in January disrupted the French oil and gas company Total.
On March 24, Total said security had improved enough to restart it, but within hours, rebels attacked Palma,, and Total again evacuated workers from a construction site.
Experts say it will be a long time before stability is restored enough for Total to return to work. Huge natural gas fields are reported to be the world’s largest reserves, and the government hoped the projects would bring much-needed economic growth.
Exxon also planned to invest, but it seems to have been suspended.
“All the gas gamblers were betting on the promise of security. News և Mozambique lost the bet,” wrote Academician Joseph Oze Hanlon in the Mozambique News Reports and Clippings.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF MOZ AMBICA AND AFRICA?
The rebels have grown in size and organization. Once viewed as a ragon bunch of disgruntled youth, their attacks are more strategic և they extend their territory over much of northern Cape Delgado.
Military experts say restoring stability is a long, difficult and difficult process. A more far-reaching solution would be to improve local government և provide better services և living conditions, according to analysts և military experts.
But it will be difficult if the rebels are already rooted. The bow of African extremism from the Sahel region of West Africa, the Boko Haram uprising in central Nigeria և The radical clash of al-Shabab in East Africa, Somalia – has a new base in Mozambique in southern Africa, which will be difficult to displace.