FRIDAY BRIEFING | Mozambique mayhem: What's behind spate of violence, beheadings, other terror acts?

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Friday Briefing

Insurgent insurrection: Mozambique's thorn to improving its economy

In 1992, Mozambique's 15 year civil war came to an end with a signing of an agreement between Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) and Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo). Following this, it was relatively quiet with only sporadic outbursts of violence. 

In 2017, that changed. 

Assailants armed with machetes and guns attacked police offices and government buildings in Mocimboa da Praia in the province of Cabo Delgado. 

Since then, attacks affiliated to a group known as Ahlus Wal Jannah have increased in number and brutality. 

It is believed that the group grew out of radical Muslim clerics and their goal is to establish an extreme form of Islamic law in the province. 

In the latest attack last month on the town of Palma in the northern Mozambican province, dozens were killed and thousands displaced. 

Palma is close to a multibillion rand liquified national gas project lead by France's Total and other international companies. 

In this week's Friday Briefing we analyse developments in Mozambique and look at the impact it is having internally as well as on the region. 

ISS analyst Timothy Walker explains how the crisis is an issue for maritime security in the region. Analyst Menzi Ndhlovu breaks down various factors on why this recent attack potentially happened. University of Johannesburg's Dr Emmanuel Matambo analyses the impact the unrest could have on the region as refugees flee the area and finally Human Rights' Watch's  Dewa Mavhinga explains the need for the AU and SADC to step in. 

It is heavy reading for the Easter weekend, but a crucial one. 


Vanessa Banton 

Opinions editor

Mozmabique attacks: The region cannot remain 'seablind'

The consequences of Cabo Delgado maritime security issues being left unanswered by Southern African states are far-reaching and will affect every country in the region - coastal and landlocked, writes Timothy Walker.

Palma insurrection: A blight on Mozambique's economy

The motivation for the latest attack on Palma in northern Mozambique by the al-Sunnah Islamist militant group is unclear. But, as Menzi Ndhlovu writes, it could be as a result of a resource raid or due to counter-insurgency by the Mozambican army, or that the US had recently blacklisted al-Sunnah.

Palma siege: Reflections of Mozambican government's ineffectual leadership 

If Mozambique is unable to deal with its internal problems, such as corruption, social discord among religious and ethnic groups, and the fortification of security, then it and SADC and the AU should prepare for more terrorist attacks, writes Emmanuel Matambo. 

SADC, AU need to urgently help Mozambique protect Cabo Delgado civilians

A failure to act on developments in the town of Palma in northern Mozambique will have dire consequences for the region, writes Dewa Mavhinga.

Offshore gas finds offered major promise for Mozambique: What went wrong?

The escalation of the insurgency in Palma, Mozambique can potentially jeopardise the successful unlocking of Mozambique's resource wealth, writes Theo Neethling.

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