ASWJ leader succumbs in SAMIM offensive

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Thorough debriefing following a SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) offensive on an Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) base south of Chitama late last month brought to light the death of insurgent leader Sheikh Dr Njile North.

The dead man’s full name is given as Rajab Awadhi Ndanjile. It appears from a statement issued by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force in the east African country he was also known as Dr Njile.

The statement confirms his death along with 18 other ASWJ fighters, called “terrorists” by Major Nathalie Mfaladi, spokesperson for the multi-national force.

Intelligence links him to the first ASWJ attack on the port city Mocimboa da Praia in October 2017 as well as subsequent attacks on villages and settlements. Njile is reported to have been part of ASWJ abductions with the aim of strengthening its ranks with women and children.

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It appears Njile was a Mozambican with the statement saying he “was a native of Litinginya village about 15 km from Nangade District. He was leader of ASWJ’s religious sect in the district and instrumental in recruitment and indoctrination of members of the group. Njile is believed to have operated a herbal shop in Litinginya village where he persuaded ordinary citizens to rise against the Mozambique government”.

SAMIM forces support Mozambique government efforts to create conditions necessary for a return to normal life in Cabo Delgado province “as it pursues the terrorists”.

The force further assures the people of Mozambique and the regional bloc of a collective commitment “to achieving a peaceful, stable and secure Cabo Delgado as well as the entire Mozambique”.

SAMIM currently comprises elements from the defence forces of Southern African Development Community (SADC) states Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Tanzania with a thousand Rwandan troops also assisting in countering the insurgency in northern Mozambique.

The mandate of the 1 495-strong South African contingent in SAMIM ends in mid-October.

SAMIM and Rwandan forces recorded successes and casualties. In last month’s fighting, a Tanzanian soldier was killed, two injured and a Lesotho Defence Force soldier injured.

The insurgency in Mozambique, gaining in strength since 2017, has resulted in 3 000 deaths and seen 800 000 people internally displaced.

Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said insurgents were kidnapping boys and using them to fight government forces in violation of the international prohibition on the use of child soldiers.

defenceWeb will on 16 November examine regional and international efforts to counter the violence in Mozambique, through a new virtual conference, with the theme ‘Developing a multi-theatre approach to restoring peace in Cabo Delgado’.



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