2018 in re­view

Mail & Guardian - - News -

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.

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