African terrorist network working together to fuel ISIS rebels in Mozambique

According to security analysts and intelligence agencies, chased by troops from southern African countries and Rwanda, Islamic extremists in Mozambique have split into closer groups and are finding shelter in al-Qaeda camps in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. increase.

Terrorists called Al-Shabaab or Arsunnawajama by the inhabitants of northern Mozambique claim to belong directly to ISIS.

Dino Mahatani, senior African terrorist researcher at the International Crisis Group, said they are being backed by several international terrorist networks to keep the rebellion alive.

Human Rights Watch and other violence monitors say that since October 2017, about 4,000 people have been killed and 800,000 have been evacuated internally.

Epoch Times Photo
Rwandan soldiers travel in armored vehicles on September 22, 2021 in Cabo del Gado, Mozambique. (Photo: via Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP, Getty Images)

Last July, troops from the country’s neighbors, primarily South Africa, were deployed to Cabodelgado to help Mozambique troops fight terrorists, supported by 2,000 Rwandan soldiers.

The joint operation provided a “stability measure” in northern Mozambique, said Thomas Keface, a security analyst at the local Kaboligad project tracking the conflict.

He mentioned the coastal areas of Parma and Mosinboa de Praia, scenes of multiple deadly attacks by terrorists in the past, but is now dominated by the armies of Rwanda and Mozambique.

This forced militants to target other areas such as Matemo Island and the Nangade district, he said.

Queface told the Epoch Times: “Al-Shabaab has killed more than 200 unarmed civilians by decapitation since January.

He said armed groups also kidnapped women and girls.

In a recent statement, UNHCR said in a recent statement that “a series of attacks by non-state armed groups” has evacuated about 24,000 people and “hundreds of families are still in motion.”

“Approximately 5,000 people are seeking protection in the area adjacent to Mueda, a remote area bordering Tanzania,” the agency added.

Fleeing violence suffered and witnessed atrocities such as killings, decapitation and amputation, sexual violence, kidnapping, forced recruitment by armed groups, and torture.

The new threat of violence means that the number of people arriving in Mueda continues to grow.

The official view of the Maputo government is that only “foreign jihadists” are responsible for the crisis in northern Mozambique.

Epoch Times Photo
Mozambique soldiers will stand as President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and President Paul Kagame of Rwandan and will review the army on September 24, 2021 in Pemba, Cabodelgado, Mozambique, where soldiers from Rwandan and Mozambique are stationed. (Photo by Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP via Getty Images)

Professor Armind Nungga of the North Korean Regional Development Bureau, which is in charge of the administration of the region, said: I don’t know who is behind them and who can negotiate with them. The victims are our government. “

But Dr. Joseph Hanlon, one of the world’s leading experts on Mozambique and now an American social scientist based at the Open University in the UK, argues that “external Islamic invasion” is not the center of conflict. It is … but it is suitable to present to the New Si administration, in itself, exempting liability for “chaos” and casting itself as a major victim.

Hanlon asked: “Are these really faceless people, or are you complaining about lack of work, marginalization, and the inability of the majority to benefit from resources?

“This clearly split Frerimo. The official policy is that there is no dissatisfaction. But even the state media now raises the issue of dissatisfaction.”

In particular, the inhabitants of Cabo del Gado have traditionally favored the opposition Renamo, which has long been ignored by Maputo from a development perspective.

However, the state has invested billions of dollars in Cabo del Gado oil and gas projects and diamond and ruby ​​mines.

Still, the locals, most of whom survive as smallholders and fishermen, haven’t benefited at all for years, Hanlon said.

Anger and resentment rose in the state, opening the door to several global jihadist organizations to arm and train disgruntled Mozambicans to build a foothold in southern Africa, Mahatani said. ..

“The origin of this crisis is Mozambique with foreign plug-ins,” he continued. “The majority of ranks, files and fighters are angry, young Mozambicans.

“A significant proportion of senior leaders are certainly educated, using Islamic jihadist cloaks to present themselves as like millennial warriors fighting corrupt nations, I am trying to implement the Shariah method. “

For more than three years, terrorists attacked villages and towns and sometimes decapitated those who accused them of violating Islamic doctrine.

However, Mahatani is not convinced that many of the rebels are devoted to jihad, the “holy war.”

“Looking at the motivations of local fighters, they often want to abandon or leave if they don’t get paid. Therefore, they are primarily illegal finances, offerings, and theirs. Motivated by handing over. “

He said it was no coincidence that the rebellion in Mozambique began shortly after neighboring Tanzanian authorities targeted an Islamic extremist group in al-Qaeda in 2017.

“These young men cracked down in Tanzania. Many of them flowed into Mozambique. They brought their ideology.

“They merged and merged with the Mozambican militants. They sometimes returned to Tanzania and played a role by going back and forth between different periods of combat.”

According to Mahatani, troops from southern Africa and Rwanda are currently operating throughout Cabodelgado, and these al-Qaeda-trained fighters were hiding across East Africa.

He told the Epoch Times that ISIS “is adopting this network, primarily through the spread of money, and is trying to bring it from the al-Qaeda camp to the ISIS camp.”

Mahatani said the Kenya-based ISIS Cell, which specializes in illegal money flows, is funding rebels not only in Mozambique, but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Uganda.

He added that many East African terrorists who had been expelled from their safe homes by security forces operations in their home countries are now based in the ISIS training camps of the Eastern DRC. From there, he said, they would “intermittently” participate in the fight in Mozambique.

“There are a lot of Swahili coast boys participating in fierce conflicts not only in Cabo del Gado, but also in eastern Congo … The new information we have is the past Mozambicans trained in these camps in eastern Congo. Gives confidence to your report. “

The latest crisis group report on the rebellion in Mozambique explains that militants have found a way to adapt to the military pressures of Africa in southern Rwanda, pushing them into neighboring Niassa province and launching an attack in Tanzania. increase.

“They are also trying to deploy more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the battlefield.

“Official officials have said that al-Shabaab fighters will continue their campaign for funding and training, including bomb-making skills, from the ISIS network in East Africa, such as those based in the northern tip of Puntland, Somalia. I’m afraid. “

South African officials have expressed increasing concern as ISIS’s influence grows domestically over the past few years. However, there were several arrests that prevented the planned bombing of the synagogue and Jewish school.

The progress of surveillance by South African military intelligence activities in northern Mozambique “has created a” real danger “of the rebels in collaboration with the DRC’s (ISIS-related) Allied National Army,” the Epoch Times said. Told.

“From the cross-examination of the captured al-Shabaab fighter, there is information that the ADF is supporting the training of the Mozambique fighter.

“For example, we have already seen how the success of counter-terrorism operations in northern Mozambique has led to a surge in terrorist attacks in Tanzania.”

All of this combined, according to Mahatani, showed that there was close cooperation between several international and multinational terrorist networks throughout Africa. They exchanged intelligence, money, weapons, fighters, and more.

He said these fluid but powerful alliances mean that when a rebellion is subdued in one area, other areas are likely to appear elsewhere.

Darren Taylor