Islamic State Bloodshed in Africa: Mozambique

by Gary Fouse

The Islamic State may have been driven from their so-called caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq, thanks to decisive action against them during the Trump administration. They are still a threat world-wide, however, in the form of returning fighters to the West and the lone wolf attacks in the West carried out at the urging of ISIS.

But the wholesale slaughter of innocents has largely moved from the Middle East to Africa. Numerous countries, including Mozambique, Congo, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, and Cameroon are plagued by ISIS-affiliated terrorists who are attacking entire villages and killing innocent civilians.

In recent weeks, Mozambique has been especially hard hit by an ISIS-affiliated group that calls itself Al Shabab (apparently distinct from the Somalian group, Al Shabaab). Just in recent weeks, an estimated 2,000 people have been killed in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado, and many more have been displaced by the violence. Several civilians, including children, have been beheaded.

In late March, the terrorist group attacked the town of Palma (Cabo Delgado), which lies on the border with Tanzania and is the center of the country’s gas projects. The attack, combined with other attacks in Cabo Delgado, have created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions as hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the terrorists.

During the past few days, the Mozambican military has reportedly re-captured Palma and discovered horrifying scenes of beheaded bodies lying in the streets. On April 8, 12 foreigners were discovered beheaded in the town. They are believed to be contract workers, who were trapped in the town.

For some reason, the events in Mozambique and other African countries are not attracting the attention of the world as they did in Syria and Iraq. Even within-country reporting in certain countries (Congo, for example) seems restricted as to the extent of the violence. Mozambique is a former Portuguese possession, and the official language is Portuguese. Being able to speak and read Portuguese, I have referred to both Mozambican and Portuguese online news sources and have translated several articles as to the events in Mozambique in the past weeks (see above links).

Mozambique has asked for foreign help both from inside and outside the region. Notably, the American government, specifically the Defense Department, is promising aid in some form. It remains to be seen what form that will take.


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