Government has to know what it is dealing with on the ground to plan effective counter-measures.
During the last two weeks attacks in northern Mozambique continued unabated. On Monday 12 June, unidentified assailants attacked the village of Nathuko, located at the administrative post of Quiterajo, Macomia District in Cabo Delgado province.
Militants burned about 100 houses and beheaded an elderly man who refused to abandon his house, whereas other residents fled after they received warning about the attack. On 5 June 2017, six people were killed in an attack on Naunde village in the Macomia district. These attacks are marred by extreme forms of violence, with scenes of beheadings and arson. Yet, a disturbing shadow violence remains present, with more speculation than fact on the reasons for these attacks.
In analysing the formation of violent extremist groups, a singular narrative of "Islamist extremism" as reason for the attacks in Mozambique lacks critical evidence and for now is nothing more than a speculative response with grave policy implications.
An "Islamist extremism" narrative is for the most part informed by the type of attacks (beheadings), the presence of...