AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Resumption of jihadist attacks in the north, but with a new "modus operandi"

Monday, 19 February 2024 jihadists   pope francis  

Immagine ACN Mocimboa da Praia, in Mozambico, giugno 2020

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - Attacks by jihadists linked to the ISIS militia "Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamma'ah" have increased in the Pemba province, northern Mozambique. In recent days, the small Mozambican fishing village of Quissanga, about 65 km north of the provincial capital Cabo Delgado and the port city of Pemba, has been attacked and occupied by jihadists. The residents report a new approach by the jihadists. Instead of killing the civilians, they are “taxed” to protect their lives and property. Those who are Muslim are encouraged to stay and invited to join them in community prayer on Fridays.
On February 12, the town of Mazeze in the Chiúre district was attacked, where the jihadists destroyed important infrastructure such as the hospital, the market and the Catholic mission "Our Lady of Africa". Pope Francis also recalled this in his speech after the midday prayer yesterday, Sunday, February 18th.
"The violence against defenceless populations, the destruction of infrastructure, and insecurity are again rampant in the province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, where the Catholic mission of Our Lady of Africa in Mazezeze was also set on fire in recent days. Let us pray for peace to return to that tormented region", the Pope said.
The new wave of attacks comes after Mozambican authorities, with the help of Rwandan troops and a SADC (Southern African Development Community) military contingent, appeared to have brought the jihadist insurgency under control in late 2023. According to the Mozambican army, security had been restored in around 90% of Cabo Delgado province by mid-December. However, several independent experts had warned that the jihadists are far from being definitively defeated, but have reduced their actions and are mingling with the civilian population, ready to strike again in due course. That moment now seems to have arrived, after the start of the withdrawal of the SADC contingent, which will in any case be completed in July 2025, while the French company Total is reconsidering the resumption of its project to build a gas liquefaction plant in the Rovuma basin, after it was forced to stop work in March 2021 when the jihadists took over the city of Palma. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2024)