It is a sobering thought for Mozambique and Southern Africa as a whole that, at time of writing, a growing insurgent army with links to Islamic State remains in control of Mocimboa da Praia in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.

The commercially and strategically important port, about 70 kilometres from the border with Tanzania, was captured by a force of as many as 1 000 fighters on August 11.

This victory was important as it was here that the insurgency really began on October 5, 2017, when a ragtag group of about 30 fighters armed with AK-47s attacked the police station and other government buildings, killing two police officers and several civilians before withdrawing.

The fall of the town earlier – while a major victory for the insurgents – was a heavy blow for Mozambique as the port is the state’s main source of resupply for its war effort in the north of Cabo Delgado. The town is a major logistics hub for the liquified natural gas projects further north at Afungi near the coastal town of Palma.

Since the first attack on Mocimboa da Praia in 2017, the group – which has been called Ahlu…

 

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