Violence in Mozambique declining – Africa Centre for Strategic Studies

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The Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) maintains violence and fatalities in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado are presently at the lowest level in four years.

The East African country, along with The Sahel, Somalia and North Africa feature in its report titled “African militant Islamist group linked fatalities at all-time high”. An introductory note reads: “A 50% spike in fatalities tied to militant Islamist groups in The Sahel and Somalia over the past year eclipsed the previous high un 2015 when Boko Haram was at its most lethal phase”.

On Mozambique, ACSS has it the Al Sunnah wa Jama’a (ASWJ) insurgency, which started in October 2017 and escalated, began to slow down with the arrival of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Rwandan security forces in July 2021.

“The continued presence of the forces led to even more substantial drops in activity and fatalities linked to the militant group. For the first time since emerging, reported violent events linked to ASWJ dropped by 27% and fatalities dropped by 43%.

“Three hundred and one events and 596 fatalities reported for 2023 are the lowest Mozambique has seen since 2019. This represents a decline both in frequency of battles and violence against civilians.”

“Particularly noteworthy,” ACSS states, “is the 20% drop in the number of attacks on civilians, down to 171 events)”.

“Violence against civilians has always been a distinguishing feature of ASWJ, representing about 71 percent of ASWJ events on average. Related fatalities dropped by 25%to 261.”

On North Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – ACSS notes “a continuing downward trend” that started in 2015.

“Militant Islamist activity and related fatalities in North Africa dropped more than 75% over the past year. This equates to 51 violent events and 78 fatalities. The theatre now contributes just one percent of militant Islamist activity and less than a percent of related fatalities.

“The steady decline in violence reflects a combination of factors. In the latter half of this decade, the majority of militant Islamist violence was in Egypt. It had already diminished significantly elsewhere, not least because of a lack of support by the civilian population, for example Algeria and Libya. In Tunisia, which had the largest group of citizens leave to fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, there was little support for militant Islamist groups at home. Like Egypt and Algeria, Tunisia put considerable effort into quashing the militant Islamist groups that appeared.”

ACSS is a forum for research, academic programs, and the exchange of ideas with the aim of enhancing citizen security by strengthening the effectiveness and accountability of African institutions. It is an academic institution within the US Department of Defence established and funded by Congress for the study of security issues relating to Africa and serving as a forum for bilateral and multilateral research, communication, training, and exchange of ideas involving military and civilian participants and is based in Washington, DC.