U.S. State Department Sanctions ISIS In Central Africa In Response To Growing Regional Threat

(New York, N.Y.) – Last week, the U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions on two ISIS affiliate groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Mozambique (ISIS-Mozambique) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Democratic Republic of the Congo (ISIS-DRC), in response to growing threats in the region. Both affiliates are now designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and their respective leaders, Abu Yasir Hassan and Seka Musa Baluku, have been named as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs).

Although the jihadist threat has been growing in Mozambique for over two decades, the country experienced a significant rise in the number of terror attacks following the discovery of gas and other natural resources in the area. These discoveries have positioned Mozambique to be one of the next big gas suppliers for the global market, incentivizing extremist groups to gain control of the region. ISIS-Mozambique is also known as Ansar al-Sunna and has killed more than 1,300 civilians since October 2017. ISIS-Mozambique’s attacks have caused the displacement of nearly 670,000 people within northern Mozambique. This month, U.S. forces began training Mozambican troops to fight against an ISIS-driven insurgency that has already killed at least 2,000 and displaced 670,000.

ISIS-DRC has carried out its own deadly attacks across North Kivu and Ituri provinces targeting Congolese civilians and regional military forces. In 2020 alone, ISIS-DRC reportedly killed more than 849 civilians. ISIS-DRC is also known as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen.

To read CEP’s ISIS resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s Mozambique resource, please click here.

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