Home Mozambique Mozambican president calls on insurgents to surrender after key activist assassinated

Mozambican president calls on insurgents to surrender after key activist assassinated

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi urged Islamist insurgents to surrender after southern African forces killed a key activist.

On September 25, allied Rwandan, Mozambican and South African forces led an offensive in Cabo Delgado province and killed jihadist leader Awadhi Ndanjile, along with 18 other fighters. Ndanjile was instrumental in the recruitment and indoctrination of members of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a (ASJW), a political and military organization based in Somalia.

The combined forces drove the militants from their territory. In a speech one day after the offensive to mark the Day of Peace and National Reconciliation, President Nyusi said: “[W]We wanted to urge them not to wait for death, “Nyusi continued, claiming that” it is not the intention of the defense and security forces “, and threatened the militants to surrender because they” did not ‘have nowhere to go,’ according to US News. & World report. However, while Nyusi suggested the likely departure of other insurgency leaders, possibly from Mozambique, he expressed concern that lower-ranking individuals were being forced to fill the missing ranks.

Awadhi Ndanjile’s death follows a crisis that began in March. Insurgents attacked the coastal city of Palma, located near $ 60 billion natural gas projects. They are intended to “transform Mozambique’s economy”. Several areas held by the insurgents were cleared, including the town of Mocimboa da Praia. Security forces claimed that the insurgents controlled the city for more than a year, before being driven out and having their bases destroyed.

As discussed by the BBC, the Cabo Delgado region has long experienced instability, but the Islamic insurgency began in 2017. In addition, the neighboring al-Shabab militia is seen by bodies like the United States to be linked. to the broader militant group of the Islamic State. . Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies senior associate Emilia Columbo observed how the group managed to recruit recruits. “[I] looks like depending on how quickly they spread, it shows a huge increase in recruiting, ”Columbo said. “[W]We receive reports of boats full of young people intercepted on the way to Cabo Delgado.

There has been a significant increase in attacks by militant groups over the past year. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) reported more than 570 violent incidents between January and December 2020. Conflict and instability have forced many Mozambicans to flee their homes. More than 2,000 people have been killed and more than 700,000 displaced since the start of the insurgency.

To deal with the crisis, Mozambique asked the United States to send military advisers. They made a deal for US soldiers to train local forces to fight militants. But the involvement of the United States can be seen as selfish, instead of helping Mozambique. Jasmine Opperman, analyst for ACLED, said the United States was “clearly” trying to expand its influence. Emphasizing that the insurgency is a complex local conflict, Opperman alleged that the United States oversimplified it by viewing the militants “as an extension of the Islamic State.”

Portugal, former colonial power in Mozambique until 1975, also agreed to train its soldiers. A Portuguese official announced that he “would send a team of around 60 coaches to Mozambique to train marines and commandos”. In addition to the assistance of the foreign military, private military contractors operated alongside the country’s security forces.

In 2019, mercenaries from the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, entered the region, demonstrating Russian interest in strengthening ties since the Soviet era. The BBC also explained that Russia had “clear economic reasons” for getting involved in Africa. They lack minerals like manganese, bauxite, and chromium, which are important materials for industry. Perhaps for these and other reasons, Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Africa to be one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities, which has concerned other countries with close ties to the continent. .

The Mozambican government has also invited the South Africa-based Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) to help fight the insurgents. Although the international non-governmental organization Amnesty implicated the group in human rights violations in Cabo Delgado, the DAG said it was investigating the allegations. In addition to concerns about the effectiveness of private contractors, acting US counterterrorism coordinator John Godfrey said that the involvement of mercenaries “clearly did not help” Mozambique in combating the terrorists. activists.

One downside to foreign interference is the lack of knowledge about the terrain and Mozambique’s politics, as discussed in The Moscow Times. Weeks after Wagner’s arrival, reports circulated that his mercenaries were ambushed, killed and beheaded. Various independent analysts, mercenaries and security experts also told the Moscow Times that Wagner “is in trouble.”

The difficulty in understanding the terrain led to other problems. Two unnamed Mozambican military sources described growing tensions between Wagner and the Mozambique Defense Forces after numerous unsuccessful military operations. One of the soldiers said that “[W]e have almost stopped patrolling together. Jasmine Opperman has proposed that a “perfect storm” engulf Wagner in Mozambique. “[T]Russians do not understand the local culture, do not trust the soldiers and have to fight in horrific conditions against an enemy that is growing in size. They are above their heads.

Along with foreign involvement, the conflict continues to escalate. Another insurgency leader, referred to only as “Muhamudu” by President Nyusi, was killed in another insurgency operation led by the government and Rwandan forces, days after the assassination of Rajab Awadhi Ndanjili. Nyusi said that “Muhamudu” was involved in the massacre of 51 young men after they refused to join his group.

Another group called Ansar al-Sunnah is the main faction of the insurgency. It started as a movement in 2015, claiming that Islamic practice in Mozambique was corrupt and deviated from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Members entered traditional mosques with weapons, intending to threaten others to follow their radical beliefs. This behavior alienated most of the local population, rather than converting them to the movement. The group grew increasingly violent and called for the application of radical Islamic Sharia law. They also ceased to recognize the Mozambican government and formed hidden camps in the districts of Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia and Montepuez.

Religion appears to play a fundamental role in the conflict, but analysts believe the most crucial factors are widespread social, economic and political problems. Unemployment, especially for young people, and other inequalities are considered to be the main causes of residents joining the radical movement. Ansar al-Sunnah promised that his form of Islamic practice would serve as an “antidote” to “corrupt and elitist rule”.

The World Peace Organization condemns the violence. Yet Mozambique is threatened by radical organizations that readily embrace it as a solution. This crisis is further complicated by the different factions seeking to get involved for their interests, and Mozambique’s demand for such intervention.

Perhaps one way to defuse the tension is to try to engage the insurgents through dialogue. The government of Mozambique should seek to understand why Ansar al-Sunna thinks Islamic practice has been corrupted and how to appease them. Perhaps communicating recognition and respect will appease these insurgents and discourage violence. Their dissatisfaction only worsens the situation. Mozambique should also consider eliminating foreign influences, as this may contribute to the escalation of hostilities.

Instead of military assistance, perhaps the government should seek humanitarian assistance for its civilians. If more people have vital resources, they may not find joining activists a call to hope for a better life. Therefore, aids and other benefits can be extended to activists, if they agree to make concessions.

Under close supervision, the Mozambican government should give activists a chance for humanitarian aid, recognition and self-reliance. In return, they must be prepared to reduce violence, respect individual rights, embrace tolerance (they are hostile to animists, Christians and Western culture) and refrain from radical Sharia law. If these arrangements are not acceptable to both parties, the government should take the lead in seeking how to reach a fair deal. Otherwise, the conflict will continue to escalate, leading to more death, destruction and displacement.


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