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CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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May 2021

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist insurgents continued to launch deadly attacks in far north despite ongoing counter-insurgency efforts. In far north Cabo Delgado province, insurgents targeted internally displaced persons fleeing violence by boat, reportedly killing at least seven and kidnapping at least 40 off the coast of Macomia district 3 May. In Nangade district, local militiamen 7 May clashed with insurgents in and around Ngalonga village, killing at least five, and 22 May killed five more insurgents in Chacamba village. In Palma district, insurgents 10 May killed three civilians and took others hostage in Olumbe village; armed forces 22-23 May reportedly thwarted insurgents’ attempt to capture Olumbe. Govt forces 21 May clashed with insurgents in and around strategic town of Diaca, Mocimboa da Praia district, allegedly driving them out of locality; 22-23 May reportedly took control of Muidumbe district capital Namacande, which had been under insurgents’ control since late 2020. NGO Amnesty International 13 May said rescue operation conducted by South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) during siege of Palma town in March was marred by racial discrimination, with white contractors evacuated ahead of black locals; DAG same day denied allegations. Southern Africa regional bloc SADC 27 May held extraordinary double troika summit to discuss deployment of regional force in Cabo Delgado but deferred decision to deploy force to next meeting scheduled for 20 June. Meanwhile, André Matsangaíssa Júnior, former senior member of Renamo Military Junta (JMR), armed dissident faction of opposition Renamo party, 3 May said JMR leader Mariano Nhongo would soon surrender; three JMR members mid-May defected in Manica province, claimed JMR forces in stronghold of Gorongosa, Sofala province, much reduced with only seven people left in their ranks. Nyusi 16 May said disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former armed opposition movement Renamo forces would not be concluded by Aug as expected due to lack of funds.

April 2021

Africa

Mozambique

Govt forces claimed they had regained Cabo Delgado’s Palma town from Islamist insurgents. In far north Cabo Delgado province, govt forces supported by South African private military company early April clashed with insurgents in and around Palma district capital, under insurgent control since late March. Military 4 April said town was now “safe” after armed forces cleared last neighbourhood. Authorities mid-April said 41 insurgents and dozens of civilians, including up to 12 foreigners, killed since attack started 24 March, amid widespread destruction and looting of nearly $1mn from Palma banks, while International Organization for Migration late April said violence in Palma had displaced over 30,000 people. Renewed clashes in and around Palma town 20-23 April left at least nine civilians dead. Also in Palma district, insurgents 2 April launched attack outside site of French oil and gas company Total liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Afungi peninsula, clashed with govt forces; attack came amid Total’s full staff withdrawal from Afungi; Total 26 April said it was declaring “force majeure” allowing it to suspend LNG project without fulfilling contractual obligations. In Macomia district near border with Muidumbe district, insurgents 8 April looted Novo Cabo Delgado village, clashed with local militia; three insurgents and one militia member killed. Southern Africa regional bloc SADC extraordinary double troika summit of heads of state and govt 8 April agreed to send technical mission to Cabo Delgado to draw up plan for security support package; mission deployed 15-21 April reportedly recommended to send 3,000-strong regional force to far north; extraordinary troika summit of SADC Organ, due to take place on 29 April to discuss proposal, postponed sine die. Meanwhile, leader of Renamo Military Junta (JMR), armed dissident faction of opposition Renamo party, 8 April threatened to make governance of six northern and central provinces “impossible” if govt continued to ignore JMR’s demands for reintegration of fighters. General Commander of police force Bernadino Rafael 14 April ordered police to “relentlessly and professionally” pursue JMR members who did not join demobilisation process.

March 2021

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist insurgents launched major attack on strategic port town of Palma in far north, leaving scores dead and triggering mass exodus as govt forces struggled to respond. Hours after French oil and gas company Total announced it was resuming full operations at Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project site in Palma district, Cabo Delgado province, Islamist insurgents 24 March launched large-scale assault on district capital Palma. In following days, coordinated attacks in and around Palma reportedly killed scores of civilians including for first time foreigners, and displaced thousands. Reports of major killings started to emerge by month’s end. Notably, assault on Amarula hotel prompted dozens, including foreigners, to flee in 17-vehicle convoy; insurgents 26 March ambushed convoy, reportedly leaving unknown number dead and at least 50 missing. Meanwhile, security forces moved to flush insurgents out of Palma, with govt 25 March saying troops were “pursing the enemy’s movement” and “working tirelessly to restore security” in Palma. Islamic State 29 March claimed responsibility, said its combatants had seized town and killed 55 including “western citizens”. In Nangade district, Islamist insurgents 1-3 March set roadblocks between district capital Nangade and garrison town of Mueda pushing west near Muiha village, and killed at least three soldiers and four civilians in several attacks in area; in response, govt forces 6 March raided insurgent encampment at Nkonga village, and next day reportedly reopened Nangade-Mueda road. In Macomia district, insurgents 24 March struck administrative posts of Mucojo and Quiterajo, taking unknown number hostage and killing others. NGO Amnesty International 2 March accused insurgents, govt and South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) of violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, in Cabo Delgado in 2020. U.S State Department 10 March designated Cabo Delgado insurgents as foreign terrorist organisation linked to Islamic State and Tanzanian national Abu Yasir Hassan as leader. President Nyusi 12 March appointed Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse as armed forces chief of staff. Mariano Nhongo, leader of Renamo Military Junta (armed dissident faction of opposition Renamo party) 11 March ruled out amnesty as first step toward negotiations with govt.

February 2021

Africa

Mozambique

Govt forces launched large-scale offensive against Islamist insurgents in far north Cabo Delgado province, and authorities announced death of newly-appointed armed forces chief of staff. Govt forces and their allies 5 Feb launched offensive in Muidumbe and Mocimboa da Praia districts in bid to retake port town and district capital Mocimboa da Praia, which has been under insurgents’ control since Aug 2020. Notably, armed forces 8-11 Feb conducted helicopter strikes on insurgent positions along Messalo River, which marks border between Muidumbe and Mocimboa da Praia, death toll unknown. Insurgents mid-month started to resist govt’s offensive, notably attacking security forces in Diaca and Roma villages, Mocimboa da Praia, 15-16 Feb, and wounding soldier in raid on armed forces base in Xitaxi locality, Muidumbe, 16 Feb. In Palma district, aid convoys 2 and 6 Feb reached district capital Palma amid reports of food shortages; military escorted convoys along Nangade-Palma axis, which insurgents have recently targeted in attempt to cut off Palma from supply routes. Also in Palma, insurgents 19 Feb attacked administrative post of Quionga on border with Tanzania, killing four, and 26 Feb killed six in nearby Quirinde village. In Nangade district, insurgents 22-25 Feb killed nine civilians in three villages; govt forces 25 Feb pursued insurgents near Luneque village, killing six. NGO Médecins sans Frontières early Feb returned to Macomia district after eight-month suspension of its activities due to insecurity. President Nyusi 3 Feb offered amnesty to Islamist insurgents, promising there will be no retaliation against those who surrender. Govt 8 Feb announced death of armed forces chief of staff, General Eugenio Mussa, less than three weeks after his appointment; Mussa reportedly died of COVID-19. Govt 12 Feb said Southern African Development Community extraordinary summit on Cabo Delgado insurgency, cancelled in Jan due to COVID-19, will take place in “May or June”. Authorities 16 Feb expelled British journalist Tom Bowker after six years reporting on Mozambique; movefollows late-Jan withdrawal of his accreditation. Meanwhile,Paulo Filipe Nguirande,chief of staff of Renamo Military Junta, armed dissident faction of opposition Renamo party, 12 Feb demobilised in Gorongosa district, Sofala province (centre).

January 2021

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist insurgents targeted liquefied natural gas (LNG) project site in far north and President Nyusi replaced armed forces chief of staff. In far north Cabo Delgado province, Islamist insurgents 1 Jan clashed with security forces in Palma district’s Quitunda village, adjacent to French oil and gas company Total’s fenced-off LNG project site. Oil company Total 4 Jan confirmed suspension of field operations due to security situation and evacuation of most personnel. Insurgents 24 Jan attacked Olumbe village, located few kilometres from LNG site, for second time in just over a week; incident led to intense fighting which reportedly involved company and govt’s Joint Task Force protecting LNG project. In Ibo district, insurgents 5 Jan attacked Quirimba Island, reportedly killing four civilians. In Macomia district, insurgents 7 Jan kidnapped 13 civilians, and later killed at least seven of them in Olumboa village; 22 Jan reportedly attacked Ingoane and Pangane villages, leaving several civilians dead. In Nangade district, insurgents 16-19 Jan killed at least nine and abducted unknown number of civilians in Pundanhar area; 21-22 Jan killed two police officers and four civilians in Mandimba and Namiune villages. In Mocimboa da Praia district, clashes between Islamist insurgents and self-defence militia late Jan reportedly left at least 27 insurgents and three militiamen dead in Panjele village. Nyusi 14 Jan promoted General Eugenio Mussa to armed forces chief of staff, replacing Lázaro Menete; Mussa late 2020 had been appointed commander of Northern Operational Command Post in garrison town of Mueda, headquarters of govt’s campaign against insurgents in Cabo Delgado and previously under police control. Following cross-border attacks into Tanzania in recent months, Nyusi and Tanzanian President Magufuli 11 Jan agreed to resume joint commission on defence and security; Southern African Development Community summit on security situation in Cabo Delgado, scheduled for mid-Jan, indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile in centre, suspected members of Renamo Military Junta (JMR), dissident faction of opposition party Renamo, 9 Jan attacked truck convoy in Zove area, Sofala province, killing civilian; attack took place despite unilateral ceasefire announced in Dec by JMR leader Mariano Nhongo. 

December 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist insurgents moved closer to liquefied natural gas (LNG) site in far north, forcing international oil company to evacuate staff. In far north Cabo Delgado province, Islamist insurgents increasingly targeted strategic towns, moving toward Afungi peninsula where LNG project is located. In Palma district, Islamist insurgents 7 Dec attacked Mute town, 20km from LNG site, and clashed with security forces, reportedly killing soldier; insurgents next day moved to Ngueo town, 2km north of Mute, forcing unknown number of civilians to flee to Palma town; 29 Dec killed five in Olumbe and Monjane villages few kilometres away from LNG site, and two soldiers in ambush on Monjane-Patacua axis on edge of Afungi peninsula. Following attacks, French oil and gas company Total late Dec started to evacuate staff from LNG facility. In neighbouring Nangade district, insurgents 8 Dec ambushed vehicle near Pundanhar town on Palma-Nangade axis, killing civilian, kidnapping two others and temporarily closing route to Palma; 12 Dec killed at least 14 civilians in several villages. In Macomia district, insurgents 10 Dec kidnapped unspecified number of fishermen in Mucojo town, released them few days later; next day killed at least four in Chai area. Southern African Development Community (SADC) Defence and Security Troika 14 Dec met with President Nyusi and Tanzania’s President Magufuli in capital Maputo to discuss security situation in Cabo Delgado; extraordinary summit of SADC heads of state and govt scheduled for 21 Jan. Meanwhile, number two of opposition Renamo party’s armed dissident faction Renamo Military Junta (JMR), Joao Machava, 6 Dec demobilised in Mabote district, Inhambane province (south). JMR leader Mariano Nhongo 11 Dec accused security forces of kidnapping six of his family members in past few days in Gondola district, Manica province (west); 23 Dec announced unilateral ceasefire, promised to negotiate with govt. Elsewhere in Manica province, armed individuals dressed in police uniforms 13 Dec kidnapped former Renamo party MP Sofrimento Matequenha from his home in provincial capital Chimoio; police same day denied abduction; Matequenha’s body found 24 Dec in Pindanganga village, 60km north east of Chimoio. 

November 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist militants staged large-scale offensive in far north, seizing second district capital since Aug and leaving scores dead; armed dissident faction of opposition Renamo party continued violent attacks in centre. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, Islamist insurgents late Oct to mid-Nov staged offensive in Muidumbe district, capturing district capital Namacande and reportedly killing at least 50 and possibly hundreds more in Muatide area. Police Commander Bernardino Rafael 19 Nov said security forces had retaken control of Namacande, but insurgents reportedly returned to town by month’s end, clashing with security forces 27 Nov. In following days, fighting moved north east toward garrison town of Mueda, with insurgents 29 Nov killing 18 soldiers in Ntushi locality. More than 45,000 fled Muidumbe district 28 Oct-25 Nov. In Palma district, insurgents 2 Nov launched attack on Pundanhar town, kidnapping five civilians; in response, security forces next day reportedly killed at least 33 insurgents. In Macomia district, insurgents 5-6 Nov attacked Nanjaba and Napala villages, killing five civilians and kidnapping six others. Insurgents late Nov captured sailboats off coast of Palma and Mocímboa da Praia districts, marking first instances of sea piracy by insurgents. Mozambique and Tanzania 20 Nov signed agreement to launch joint operations against insurgents and share intelligence after violence spilled over into Tanzania in Oct. Southern Africa regional bloc SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation 27 Nov called for “comprehensive regional response” and urgent support to Mozambique. In centre, suspected members of Renamo Military Junta (JMR), dissident faction of opposition party Renamo, 3 Nov attacked vehicle in area between Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts in Sofala province, injuring two civilians; Junta leader Mariano Nhongo same day denied responsibility. President Nyusi – whose unilateral ceasefire in Oct failed to kickstart peace talks with JMR – 18 Nov said dissidents had carried out two attacks in Manica province’s Sussundenga district, leaving three civilians injured; same day said “there is no interest [from JMR] to engage in dialogue” and vowed to “take care” of group. Further JMR attack in Sussundenga 25-26 Nov left at least two injured. 

October 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist militants staged deadly attacks in far north, albeit at lower intensity, and across border in Tanzania; President Nyusi’s unilateral, week-long ceasefire with dissident Renamo armed faction failed to kickstart peace talks. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, Islamist insurgents late Sept to mid-Oct killed at least 30 civilians and kidnapped 62 others in several villages in Macomia district. Several attacks also reported throughout month in Quissanga, Palma and Muidumbe districts. Some 300 insurgents 14 Oct crossed border into Tanzania and reportedly killed at least 22, including three Tanzanian security forces personnel; Islamic State (ISIS) next day claimed responsibility, first time ISIS claims direct attack on Tanzanian soil (see Tanzania). Military 21 Oct reportedly killed over 30 insurgents and several civilian hostages in counter-insurgency operation on Matemo island, Ibo district. Police Commander Bernardino Rafael 29 Oct said security forces had killed 108 insurgents in attacks on terrorist “encampments” in Cabo Delgado over three-day period. In centre, suspected members of Renamo Military Junta, dissident faction of opposition party Renamo, 6 Oct attacked vehicles on Muxunguè-Mutindir road in Sofala province, injuring five. Nyusi 24 Oct announced unilateral, week-long ceasefire in Sofala and Manica provinces in attempt to kickstart peace talks with dissidents; Renamo Military Junta leader Mariano Nhongo two days later said he was willing to negotiate with Nyusi but not with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade; Nhongo 31 Oct said attempt to start talks had failed, denounced ceasefire violations and harassment of his combatants by govt forces. Demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces continued, with 173 former combatants demobilised 12 Oct. In response to govt’s Sept request for assistance to tackle Cabo Delgado insurgency, EU 9 Oct announced training program, logistical support and medical services for Mozambican forces.

September 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Amid counter-insurgency operations, deadly attacks by Islamist militants persisted in far north, while dissidents continued to target civilians in centre. In far northern Cabo Delgado province, Islamist militants retained control of port town and district capital Mocímboa da Praia and continued to launch attacks across province leaving scores of civilians dead. Islamic State (ISIS) 5 Sept claimed to have fended off joint Mozambican-Tanzanian armed force attack on Mocímboa da Praia, killing 20 Tanzanian soldiers, which Tanzania denied. Elsewhere in Mocímboa da Praia district, security forces 5 Sept reportedly regained control of Awasse town and 14 Sept repelled insurgents near Diaca village, killing at least five. In Palma district, insurgents 12 Sept killed at least 24 civilians near Pundanhar village and 24 Sept killed up to five soldiers in Naliendele village; security forces 23 Sept allegedly killed 19 militants in Pundanhar village. In Macomia district, insurgents 22 Sept killed five civilians near Novo Cabo Delgado locality, and 24 Sept killed at least eight others in Bilibiza village. NGO Amnesty International 9 Sept called on govt to launch investigation into “shocking violence” against detainees in far north, including dismemberment, torture, and attempted beheading of alleged militants; said videos depicting atrocities showed perpetrators wearing uniforms of Mozambique Armed Defense Forces and Mozambique Rapid Intervention Police. Govt in following days repeatedly denied allegations and denounced “disinformation” campaign by insurgents. European Parliament 17 Sept condemned use of “disproportionate violence” by security forces, called for impartial investigation into “grave violations”. Suspected members of Renamo Military Junta, dissident faction of opposition party Renamo, continued to launch attacks on transport routes in centre, notably killing two civilians at border between Nhamatanda and Chibabava districts in Sofala province 20 Sept and two others in Sussundenga district, Manica province 27 Sept. Demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces continued, with 140 female former combatants reportedly demobilised 5 Sept.  Unidentified assailants 13 Sept assaulted journalists Luciano da Conceicao in Maxixe town, Inhambane province (south), and Leonardo Gimo in provincial capital of Nampula (north).

August 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Islamist militants seized major port town in far north after intense fighting. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, Islamist militants 5-11 Aug launched series of coordinated attacks in and around port town and district capital of Mocímboa da Praia in third such offensive since March, forcing security forces to withdraw and seizing town 11 Aug. Offensive left dozens dead on both sides: Islamic State (ISIS) said twin attacks against two army barracks in Mocímboa da Praia city 6 Aug left some 50 soldiers dead or injured; govt same day said it had repelled both attacks, killing 16 militants; insurgents 10 Aug killed at least 55 soldiers in ambush in Awasse area near Mocímboa da Praia city. Elsewhere in Mocímboa da Praia district, suspected militants late Aug beheaded seven and kidnapped several others on Nhonge island. In neighbouring Macomia district, suspected Islamist militants 8 Aug killed five civilians in Litamanda village. Security forces continued to face accusations of excessive use of force and unlawful killings; in one incident on 13 Aug, they reportedly sank boat carrying displaced persons from Nkomangano village to Nhongue island, killing 40. Regional bloc Southern African Development Community 17 Aug committed to providing support to Mozambique against jihadist insurgency in Cabo Delgado. Govt and French oil and gas company Total 24 Aug reached agreement over security of latter’s natural gas projects in Cabo Delgado. Suspected members of Renamo Military Junta, dissident faction of opposition party Renamo, 30 Aug attacked civilian bus on Muxunguè-Rio Save axis in Sofala province in centre; no casualties reported. Unidentified assailants 23 Aug threw Molotov cocktails at offices of two local independent newspapers in capital Maputo.

July 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Amid counter-insurgency operations and allegations of extrajudicial killings, Islamist militants launched deadly attacks and stepped up kidnappings in far north. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, Islamist militants killed scores of civilians throughout month, including at least twenty in raid on Mungue village on border between Mocimboa da Praia and Muidumbe districts 15 July, and nine in attacks in Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia district 28-30 July. Numerous kidnappings were reported in July, including several truckloads of women taken by insurgents during occupation of Mocimboa da Praia town 27 June-3 July. Islamic State (ISIS) 3 July threatened to attack natural gas projects, same day warned it would target South Africa should it intervene to support Mozambican army in Cabo Delgado. Meanwhile, security forces 1 July launched raid on insurgent base near Ntessa village, Macomia district, allegedly killing over 100 militants. Reports of extrajudicial killings persisted. Security forces 7 July reportedly killed four civilians suspected of supporting insurgents in Mocimboa da Praia town. Demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces continued; ten former Renamo fighters 6 July enrolled with police in Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado province; UN Special Envoy for Mozambique Mirko Manzoni 16 July said Renamo base in Muxungue, Sofala province in centre, had been dismantled previous day and over 500 former Renamo fighters demobilised since June, reportedly including eleven members of Renamo dissident faction which calls itself Renamo Military Junta. Trial of six individuals accused of supporting Renamo Military Junta, including former Renamo MP Sandura Ambrosio, started 10 July in Dondo district, Sofala province. Police 23 July killed five Renamo Military Junta fighters in Sussundenga district, Manica province in west.

June 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Jihadist violence continued in far north, while demobilisation of troops from former rebel group, now opposition party Renamo, resumed in centre amid continued tensions between govt and armed dissident faction of Renamo. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, suspected Islamist militants launched at least 24 attacks against civilians and security forces throughout month, killing at least 54 civilians. Notably, in Macomia district, militants killed 17 civilians 9 June, and 15 others next three days. In Mocimboa da Praia district, insurgents killed four civilians in Malinde village 14 June and three others in Chimbanga village 17 June. Several attacks also reported in Meluco and Quissanga districts. Security forces along with foreign private security contractors continued counter-insurgency operations, notably driving militants out of Narere village, Mocimboa da Praia district 9 June; security forces killed at least 24 insurgents in operations that day, and allegedly executed another 13 after capturing them. Security forces launched counter-offensive after Islamic State (ISIS) 27 June attacked Mocimboa da Praia town, ten soldiers and at least seven assailants reportedly killed in clashes. Demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces resumed 4 June. UN Special Envoy for Mozambique Mirko Manzoni 13 June announced first base had been dismantled in Dondo district, Sofala province in centre, ending months-long hiatus as Aug deadline to dismantle all Renamo bases nears. Mariano Nhongo, leader of Renamo dissident faction which calls itself Renamo Military Junta, immediately declared resumption of process “null and void”; Manzoni 5 June said he was willing to meet with Nhongo to negotiate peace deal, 19 June said attempts to negotiate had failed. Suspected Renamo Military Junta 28 June attacked civilian bus near Inchope locality, Manica province, killing 11-year-old boy. Court in Gaza province 18 June sentenced six police officers to between three and 24 years in prison for involvement in killing of prominent rights activist and election observer Anastacio Matavele before Oct 2019 presidential election.

May 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Jihadist violence persisted in rural areas in far north, President Nyusi sought regional support against insurgency, and armed dissident faction of Renamo continued to attack civilians in centre. Suspected jihadists launched dozens of attacks in Cabo Delgado province in far north. Notably, Islamist militants 2 May reportedly killed 34 civilians in two villages in Quissanga district; 11 and 16 May allegedly killed fifteen civilians in Miangalewa village, Muidumbe district. Security forces 13 May killed 42 jihadists on Chinda-Mbau axis in Mocimboa da Praia district, next day repelled attack in Quissanga district, killing eight jihadists. Al-Qaeda 22 May for first time claimed attack in Mocimboa da Praia district. Militants flying Islamic State (ISIS) flag 28 May occupied Macomia town; govt 31 May said security forces killed 79 Islamist militants, including two senior leaders, in counter-offensive to retake Macomia. Nyusi and regional bloc Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika including Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe 19 May met in Zimbabwean capital Harare to discuss security situation in Mozambique; in final communiqué, parties urged SADC member states to lend support to Mozambique against jihadist insurgency in Cabo Delgado, reportedly prompting talks between South Africa and Mozambique on possible South African assistance. Renamo dissident faction, which calls itself Renamo Military Junta, continued to launch attacks on transport routes in Sofala province in centre, killing one civilian in Nhamatanda district 17 May. Renamo Military Junta leader Mariano Nhongo 29 May claimed security forces had recently abducted several people in Nhamatanda, Sofala province, and Gondola, Manica province, on suspicion of supporting group. Trial of seven police and one civilian accused of killing prominent election observer Anastacio Matavele in Oct, ahead of presidential election, started 12 May in southern city of Xai-Xai. Nyusi 28 May extended COVID-19 state of emergency until 30 June.

April 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Jihadist violence continued to spread in far north, while govt and former rebel group, now opposition party Renamo, agreed to resume demobilisation of Renamo troops, and armed dissident faction of Renamo continued attacks in centre. Attacks by suspected jihadists continued unabated in several districts of Cabo Delgado province in far north. Notably, Islamist militants 8 April killed 52 civilians in Xitaxi village, Muidumbe district. Security forces 7 April drove back militants in Muidumbe town, killing 39, and 10 April repelled jihadist attack on Quirimba island, leaving 59 militants dead; five civilians also killed in fighting and twenty schoolchildren reportedly kidnapped. Suspected jihadists 17 April killed six civilians in Machova Koka village, Macomia district, and 22 April beheaded four others in Imbada village, Meluco district. Govt 15 April denied militants controlled any areas of Cabo Delgado province; 23 April said for first time insurgency was “external aggression” by Islamic State (ISIS). President Nyusi and Ossufo Momade, leader of former rebel group, now opposition party Renamo, 16 April agreed demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces should resume. Renamo 23 April accused security forces of killing fourteen civilians in Cabo Delgado’s Palma district and near Ibo Island in three incidents mid-April; notably, security forces 12 April allegedly killed up to twelve civilians travelling by boat from Pemba to Ibo Island. Renamo dissident faction, which calls itself Renamo Military Junta, continued attacks against civilians in centre. Following Jan threat that faction would target businesses unless govt denied that Momade represented party, group’s leader Mariano Nhongo 7 April claimed previous day attack on camp of Chinese-owned timber company which left one worker dead in Matarara camp, Manica province.

March 2020

Africa

Mozambique

Suspected Islamist militants for first time mounted attacks against urban centres in far north reportedly leaving dozens of soldiers and police dead; tensions continued between govt and armed dissident faction of former rebel group, now opposition party Renamo, amid ongoing attacks on civilians in centre. In Cabo Delgado province in far north, attacks by Islamist militants spread for first time to urban centres late March. Notably, Islamic State (ISIS) 24 March claimed previous day attack on port town of Mocímboa da Praia, said dozens of soldiers and police killed; militants flying ISIS flag 25 March raided town of Quissanga, reportedly killing six soldiers and unknown number of civilians. Islamist violence persisted in rural areas, including: ISIS 3 March claimed attack same day on Mahate village, Quissanga district, that left twelve soldiers dead; militants 4 March killed four people in Nkonda village in Nangade district; 10 March attacked army outposts near Mueda and Nangade, killing at least twelve soldiers, and same day reportedly killed up to eleven soldiers in Nguia village, Quissanga district; 4-12 March raided four villages in Mocímboa da Praia district, number of casualties unknown. Renamo dissident faction, which calls itself Renamo Military Junta, continued attacks on civilians and govt forces on main axes in Sofala province in centre, leaving at least one civilian dead near Nharichonga, Nhamatanda district mid-March. Group’s leader Mariano Nhongo 19 March threatened war if govt refused to accede to his demands. Demobilisation and disarmament of Renamo forces continued to lag behind schedule as Aug 2020 deadline to dismantle all Renamo bases nears; Renamo leader Ossufo Momade 18 March blamed delay on “agenda issues”, said process would resume late March. In response to COVID-19, President Nyusi 30 March declared state of emergency, limiting internal movement and partially closing borders from 1 April.