(New York, N.Y.) – Last week, Tanzania and Mozambique announced they would begin conducting joint operations against Islamist militants along their shared border. The cooperation was spurred by attacks by ISIS-affiliated militants from Mozambique on Tanzanian villages in October. Though the militants are based in Mozambique, authorities believe many of the recruits come from Tanzania. The agreement reached by both governments includes a commitment to extradite more than 500 suspected terrorists from Tanzania to Mozambique.
In recent months, attacks carried out by the ISIS-affiliated Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah (ASWJ) along the Tanzania-Mozambique border have claimed dozens of lives. In October, approximately 300 ASWJ militants allegedly beheaded more than 20 people in Ktaya, Tanzania. Additionally, the insurgents ignited fires in more than 175 houses. In August, ASJW insurgents overpowered government soldiers and claimed control of the port of Mocímboa de Praia in Mozambique.
Terrorist activity in Mozambique has been on the rise since 2017, with more than 1,000 civilians killed as of August 2020 since the onset of violence. The local ASJW insurgency has focused most of its attacks near the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Northern Mozambique is thought to be the target of the insurgents due to the province’s multi-billion dollar gas supply. Ongoing violence has contributed to the displacement of almost 200,000 others.
ASWJ allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS in May 2018 and was incorporated into Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP) in 2019. ISCAP first claimed an attack in the Cabo Delgado province in June 2019, issuing a statement that the group was involved in a gunfight with and had ultimately seized weapons and ammunition from Mozambican military forces.
To read CEP’s Mozambique resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Tanzania resource, please click here.