The March attack on the Mozambican town of Palma, by insurgents from a local Islamist organisation called Allu Sunna wa Jama, or al-Shabaab, or ISIS-Mozambique, made international headlines.
In the days and weeks that followed, horrific stories of trapped families trying to escape the insurgents were widely covered, along with the heroism of unarmed boats that plucked civilians off beaches and coastal islands.
The headlines may have stopped, but the crisis continues, with battles against the insurgents ongoing.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the military mission of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique (SAMIM) said it had killed the insurgents’ religious leader, Sheikh Njile North, in Cabo Delgado.
On the same day, an armed group linked to the Islamic State attacked a village in Cabo Delgado, armed with machine guns and terrorising residents.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently stated that an Islamic State-linked armed group in northern Mozambique is now kidnapping boys and using them to fight government forces.
To better understand the forces in play, and how things got to this point, the BBC’s Africa Eye has put together an excellent investigative video titled Sons of Mocímboa:
Abductions, beheadings, and the burning of homes and businesses have become the calling cards of a secretive and brutal group of insurgents in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.
Since 2017, they have carried out hundreds of raids, causing an unknown number of deaths and forcing more than 700,000 people to flee for their lives. Little is known about the real reasons for the insurgency.
Who are these men and what do they want? By tracking the insurgents’ movements on the ground and online, Africa Eye investigates how and why Mozambique has become southern Africa’s latest terrorism hotspot.
It’s not easy viewing, but it’s pretty important when you consider that this is taking place in a country with which we share a border.
The video below also includes some pretty graphic descriptions of the violence carried out by the insurgents:
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