How the heightened fight against the lesser-known ISIS affiliate has attracted US green berets and foreign mercenaries

Palma Pen Bacabo del Gado Mozambique

Security officials are on the alert while waiting for friends and relatives to flee the attacks claimed by ISIS-linked militants in Parma, Mozambique, on April 1, 2021. Reuters / Emidio Jojin

  • The US Army Special Forces is on the ground in Mozambique and is training the army to combat the growing rebellion associated with ISIS.

  • Mozambique’s inability to quell violence has already been drawn to Russian and South African mercenaries who could not counter the militants.

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Last week, militants raided the city of Palma in Cabodelgado, northeastern Mozambique.

Fighters attacked civilians with machetes and assault rifles, bowing their heads and leaving the bodies on bullets. Thousands of people have fled to the shore from the besieged city.

The violence lasted for several days and culminated at the Amarla Palma Hotel, an oasis of expatriates and foreign workers. There, helicopters evacuated people with barricades inside and searched for other people hiding nearby. According to reports, the death toll ranges from tens to hundreds.

Bloodshed was a surprise to the US Army Special Forces, who had been in Cabodelgado for weeks to train Mozambique’s army, but probably not. New York Times..

According to The Times, “20” elite soldiers have been sent to the area as part of an ongoing effort to contain the militant group Ansar al-Sunna, locally known as al-Shabaab (unrelated to Somali’s jihadist group). There was. I recently confirmed a partnership with ISIS..

C-130J Soldier Maputo Mozambique

On April 5, 2019, at Maputo, Mozambique, a US soldier talks to a Mozambique soldier next to a US C-130J. US Air Force / Technology. Sgt.Chris Hiben

The soldiers were part of what the special forces called joint joint exchange training, or JCET. Special Operations Forces launched JCET in Mozambique in March, sending two special forces teams to Cabo del Gado, each with 12 soldiers.

A source close to the Army Special Forces told insiders that JCET was being strengthened by a crisis response unit (a special unit equivalent to the Tier 1 anti-terrorism unit).

Six 12-member special forces teams have been deployed in Mozambique, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, Special Operations Forces Africa denied that the CRF had been deployed.

“There is no emergency response unit from the 3rd. [Special Forces Group] “The team currently in Mozambique exists solely to conduct joint joint exchange training,” a spokeswoman said.

Extremists, mercenaries, and civilians are under attack

Car Ambush Palma Mozambique

A wrecked car caught in the ambush of a civilian fleeing Parma, seen between March 24 and 27, 2021. Distribution via Dyck Advisory Group / Reuters

JCET is practiced around the world and is claimed as a way for special forces soldiers to experience first-hand with foreign troops, learn mission-critical skills, and build local knowledge.

JCET also allows the U.S. military to look to the ground in areas of potential conflict, but inadvertently equips foreign troops with skills that are abused when the U.S. departs. It has been criticized for doing so.

March 10, US State Department designated As a terrorist organization, Ansaral-Sunna has officially confirmed its relationship with ISIS. Conservative estimates indicate that Arsuna’s combat force today is 800 armed groups and is growing rapidly.

The designation is not groundless About violence caused by Group fighter in recent years. However, it is common for the United States to issue such designations prior to covert operations on these organizations.

Such designations allow special operations forces to receive air support and, more importantly, U.S. Predator Drone.. US law allows US commanders to strike on the ground while US troops are conducting anti-terrorism operations.

The Mozambique government is trying to conquer Arsuna, and many have criticized the government as follows: Strict measures and laborious military operations It rarely distinguishes between civilians and rebels, only exacerbates the humanitarian crisis.

Pembakabo del Gado Mozambique Soldier

A Mozambican soldier at the airport in Pemba, the capital of Cabo del Gado, on March 31, 2021. AFP via Getty Images

Unable to quell the violence, the government first turned to the Wagner Group, a Russian security company associated with the Kremlin. This group is owned by the Russian oligarch Eugénie Archipelino, which is very close to Putin, and its fighters are deployed in Africa and the Middle East and often act in the interests of Moscow.

In 2019, Wagner mobilized a large force against Arsuna in Cabo del Gado, including a helicopter gunship. The militant group was supported by fighters and equipment from ISIS and neighboring countries. Wagner’s troops failed, mainly due to lack of experience in the area, Immediately retreat to Nakara, Approximately 250 miles south.

The Mozambique government then turned to South Africa’s private military contractor, the Dyke Advisory Group (DAG).

The DAG faced the same problem. A heightened rebellion supported by international terrorist organizations and intertwined with the locals.The· Amnesty International Report The atrocities are also due to the DAG, citing eyewitness testimony that DAG operatives fired “indiscriminately at the crowd” from helicopters and repeatedly fired at civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and homes.

The DAG had little success against Arsuna. The helicopter DAG used in the assault operation became a rescue bird when armed groups attacked Parma. DAGhelos reportedly Helped evacuate 200 civilians From the cut-off Alamura Palma Hotel.

Palma Mozambique Dyke Advisory Group Helicopter

A Dyck Advisory Group helicopter landed in Parma, Mozambique between March 24 and March 27, 2021. Distribution via Dyck Advisory Group / Reuters

Recent violence has reached a crucial moment for the DAG, whose relations with the Mozambique government have collapsed.

DAG personnel spent months training Mozambique’s army on a group helicopter import From the UK to supplement the military’s own helicopter, a variant of the Mi-24 attack helicopter.

However, the DAG is struggling with this mission at Cabo del Gado. Several reports of downed aircraft have leaked from war-torn states over the past year. Radicals holding the ISIS flag, which is currently a trademark It was celebrated with a video released by the media division of ISIS.

Lionel Dyke, the owner of the DAG, complains about the difficulties the group is facing.

“We’re doing something that no one else can or wants to do, so use what you have, and if it’s not efficient, fire us. It’s as easy as that. ” He told CNN March 31st.

Government of Mozambique The contract has ended Next day.

Compete for resources at Cape Delgado

Afungi Liquefied Natural Gas Mozambique

Afungi liquefied natural gas camp in Ahungi, Mozambique. WFP / Handouts via Reuters

Behind the violence and its efforts to quell it is the precious natural resources of Cabo del Gado, which the Mozambique government is using to attract foreign aid.

Cabo del Gado has one of Africa’s largest natural gas reserves. Discovered in 2010, the gas was initially a source of hope for the people of Cabodelgado. Locals believed that reserves would lead to good work and boost the needy local economy.

However, the central government of Mozambique, especially its ruling party, did business directly with gas companies. In exchange for most profits.. Many people lost access to farmland and fisheries due to the struggles of the locals, mainly self-sufficient farmers and fishermen.

The people of Cabo del Gado, the majority of the Islamic state, had already had many years of dissatisfaction. Government corruption same as Isolation and discrimination From the rest of the country. Like elsewhere, ISIS used local anger to expand its business and spread the message of radicalization.

Muslims elsewhere in Africa have set up mosques in Cabo del Gado, spreading rumors that the local Imam is allied with a corrupt government. Mozambique expert Joseph Hanlon wrote in a BBC report.. These Muslims began to provide financial assistance to the community and told residents that their lives would be better under the strict Islamic law known as Shariah.

Cabo del Gado Mozambique displaced persons

People fleeing attacks by armed groups in northern Cabodelgado at a meeting in Matuge in northern Mozambique on February 24, 2021. ALFREDOZ UNIGA / AFP via Getty Images

To receive support from ISIS-mainly in the form of weapons-all locals, and later members of Ansar Arsuna, need to be aware of ISIS and promote efforts to promote and expand the group. did.

Because of that effort, ISIS can extend its reach to new areas-where uncontrolled spaces further accelerate its expansion-and access and benefit from valuable resources. can do Redistributed to other poor franchises..

The interests associated with the violence are why the US Special Operations Forces has tripled its troops in the state.

This reaction may reflect a combination of political and commercial interests. Washington could see the continued turmoil in Cabo del Gado as a threat that would definitely benefit ISIS and its activities in Africa.U.S. companies may also be trying to be safe Access to precious natural gas Foreign companies are already joking about trying to abuse it.

Mozambique is currently on the list of African countries with which the United States is deeply involved. The battle at Cape Delgado isn’t over yet, but it’s still unclear whether the elite green berets and deadly drones they use will be in dire straits like the Russians and South Africans in front of them. not.

JW Sotak is a defense and foreign policy reporter focused on the Middle East and Africa. He was a 10-year veteran of the US Army and was a member of the Army Civil and Regional Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. His report was published in SOFREP and The New York Times. You can follow him on Twitter @JWSotak.

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