Be Smart About South Africa

Is Regional Intervention Needed to Stem Out Threat in Maputo?

Insecurity in Mozambique’s gas-rich region was part of the agenda on Monday when Southern African regional leaders gathered for a virtual summit that saw Nyusi assume the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). When fighters from an unknown group, known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ) or “followers of the prophetic tradition”, began launching attacks in northern Mozambique in October 2017, security agencies dismissed it as isolated acts of banditry. But the fighters continued attacking villages and towns in the resource-rich Cabo Delgado region, killing residents, burning houses and forcing thousands from their homes. While not much is known about the fighters or ASWJ itself, some of the more recent assaults have been claimed by the ISIL-affiliated Islamic State Central Africa Province. Last week, the fighters scaled up their operations by attacking for the third time this year the town of Mocimboa da Praia and seizing its port. The strategic port is used for cargo deliveries to the $60bn-worth gas projects located 60km (37 miles) further north that are being developed by oil giants such as France’s Total, Exxon Mobil Corp and other energy firms.


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