Mozambique: Police Deny 'Islamic State' Claim

Maputo — The Mozambican police have denied a claim by the self-styled "Islamic State" that it was responsible for a terrorist attack in the northern province of Cabo Delgado last Monday.

Police spokesperson Orlando Mudumane told reporters on Wednesday "we distance ourselves from this report, and refrain from commenting on it".

The defence and security forces, Mudumane said, "are positioned throughout the national territory, carrying out various operational activities in order to guarantee permanent public order and security, ensuring that people can move about in an environment of peace and tranquillity".

The islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado began on 5 October 2017, with attacks on police installations in Mocimboa da Praia district. Initially "Islamic State" (IS - also known as Isis or Daesh) paid no attention to Mozambique.

The first time Mozambique was mentioned by "Islamic State" was in a communique on Monday, which claimed that something called the "Central Africa Province" of IS "deterred a military offensive in the Cabo Delgado region".

The IS fighters supposedly clashed with soldiers of "the Crusader Mozambican Army" in Metubi village in Mocimboa da Praia. An unspecified number of Mozambican soldiers were allegedly killed and injured. "Allah made them (the Mozambican forces) turn back in defeat. The mujahideen captured weapons, ammunition, and rockets as spoils, and unto Allah is all praise".

Metubi village does exist, but it is in Quissanga district, not in Mocimboa da Praia. Local sources in Cabo Delgado did not mention any attack on Metubi on Monday. The photos published by IS show nothing that indicates they were shot in Mozambique.

IS, reeling from its recent defeats in Iraq and Syria, seems to be claiming authorship of an insurgency in Cabo Delgado that has nothing to do with it. Although the Mozambican insurgents have clearly imitated some abhorrent IS practices, such as beheading their victims, there is, to date, no firm evidence linking the Cabo Delgado insurgents to IS.

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