(New York, N.Y.) —This week, the European Union (EU) announced plans to boost financial support to Mozambique in its fight against ISIS. According to EU officials, the €15 million in military aid equipping forces on the ground combating a resurgence by the terrorist group. During the first week of September, ISIS-Mozambique fighters had claimed responsibility for an attack on a missionary compound in the Nampula province of Mozambique, the country’s most populous province. The attack was notable as it took place further south than where insurgent violence had previously been concentrated. Since moving into the Nampula, the group has claimed responsibility for the destruction of two churches and over 120 homes.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Mozambique: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.
Mozambique has responded to the ongoing insurgency with increased efforts to combat ISIS-Mozambique, also known as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWJ), throughout the country’s north. In January 2022, Mozambican and Rwandan forces shot dead Tuahil Muhidim, a Tanzanian Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWJ) leader responsible for attacks in northern Mozambique. Days prior, the Mozambican Defense and Security Forces (FDS) arrested a senior leader of ASWJ along with six other militiamen after ASWJ forces ambushed Nangade district where they killed at least five people and injured more than 200 others.
CEP Senior Director and former Coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh), al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Team Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler praised the provision of the funds by the EU. “As ISIS seeks to increase its influence using violent means, it is timely and necessary that the European Union decided to provide additional military aid and funds to Mozambique following increased terrorist activity in the country. ISIS has been developing into a major threat in several regions of Africa, spreading from West Africa via the Sahel into Central and Eastern Africa. If this development is allowed to continue unchecked, the group has the ability to further destabilize the continent and increase the overall capabilities of this global terror network. Therefore, this situation is a concern beyond the African continent.”
ISIS-Mozambique’s attacks have killed at least 5,900 people and displaced more than 946,000 people since October 2017.
U.S. officials have also provided counterterrorism support to Mozambique. In 2021, U.S. Special Forces began to train Mozambican troops to repel ISIS forces. As part of the program, a dozen Army Green Berets trained Mozambican marines for two months to better combat ISIS-affiliates. The U.S. has also designated ISIS-Mozambique and ASWJ as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) and named Abu Yasir Hassan, the reported leader of ISIS-Mozambique, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
To read CEP’s resource ISIS, please click here.