23 July 2018

Mozambique: Mysterious Terror Killings Puzzle Mozambique

Maputo — MYSTERY surrounds the killing of about 150 people during a reign of terror by a secretive terror group in northern Mozambique.

The bloodbath, which has spiraled since last October when two police officers and 14 militants were killed, has haunted the resources-rich Cabo Delgado Province.

Deadly violence marked by killings and kidnappings of civilians as well as looting and burning down of villages has risen since May this year.

An international security think-tank noted there was still a lack of clarity around the reasons driving the violence, yet both the motivations of the militants and the patterns of their attacks seem to distinguish the violence from the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) banditry that has eternally dominated Mozambique's political violence landscape.

Reports have suggested Islamist extremists groups were behind the attacks but Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset stated it remained unclear whether such ideologies were currently driving the violence in Cabo Delgado.

According to the think-tank, there is a lack of clear leadership and articulated goals inspiring the attacks.

Extremist groups have not claimed the attacks and no demands have been made to the government. The organisation noted most incidents are hit-and-run attacks on state forces and perpetrators had limited weaponry.

"Most of the militants are armed with machetes and many of the incidents involve the stealing of food, money, weapons, and other property."

The violence has also been linked to radicalisation of marginalised Cabo Delgado youth and the presence of transnational criminal networks running illicit mining, timber extraction and smuggling through the province.

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