2018 in review
Unfortunately, a new conflict has sprung up to take its place. This one is centred in northern Mozambique. Coincidentally — or not — it is in the same area where huge deposits of natural gas have been discovered. Since October last year, an armed group has been responsible for 49 deadly attacks in the area.
The group is shrouded in mystery. No one is quite sure what its aims are or even what it is called: the names “al-shabab”, “Ansar al-sunnah” and “Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamo” are used almost interchangeably. The group has been linked to extremist Islam, but also to organised crime syndicates.
If Mozambique wants to avoid another decades-long insurgency, it will have to act carefully.
“The militants are still militarily weak and the violence could still be contained. But if it is handled clumsily, the situation could develop in a direction that sees northern Mozambique become a zone for launching assaults and furthering the aims of criminal networks across the region,” said researcher Simone Haysom in a report for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime.