ISIS has claimed that it has gained a foothold in Mozambique. It said in a statement on June 4 that it staged an attack on an army post in one of the villages of the African state.
ISIS added in its statement that it killed and injured a number of army troops and seized a number of arms.
Mozambique authorities denied, however, the claims made by ISIS. They said the area where ISIS claimed to have staged the attack witnessed insurgence since 2017.
Police spokesman Orlando Mudumane said information propagated by ISIS was incorrect.
He added that Mozambique’s police carries out its mission of preserving security nationwide.
The northernmost region of Mozambique, which is predominantly Muslim and rich in gas, has been hit by a year and a half of violence, attributed to extremists who want a radical Islamic law. More than 200 people have been killed or burned in attacks on villages and ambushes on the roads.
According to the US intelligence website “Site” ISIS made a serious geographical error by saying the village of Metobi belonged to Musimoboa region.
The fact is that this village belongs to Kisanga province which is 100 kilometers away from Musimoboa.
Beginning of conflict
Foreign reports said the violence was concentrated in Cabo Delgado, a Muslim-majority province in north-eastern Mozambique bordering Tanzania. It is Mozambique’s least developed region.
Social and economic conditions in Cabo Delgado are fueling the insurgency; unemployment and poverty, and ineffective government services.
A data project for ACLED reported more than 100 armed conflicts, most of which focused on civilians, and from January to April 2019, there were also three clashes between police and insurgents.
Amira Abdel Halim, an African affairs specialist, described ISIS’s rhetoric as mere “propaganda”.
In his last speech, ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi noted that the organization was expanding.
The organization does not exist in Mozambique, but may have ties and contacts with extremist groups there, she said.
Abdel Halim noted that since the fall of his alleged succession in Syria and Iraq, al-Baghdadi has been trying to compensate this loss by making large presence on social networking sites.