Conflict lingers in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado

Mozambique's military said last year that more than 90% of Cabo Delgado province had been secured from jihadist insurgents known locally as al-Shabab, yet attacks this year indicate that the conflict is far from over. After seizing a strategic village last month, fighters killed more than 20 soldiers in an attack on Feb. 9. Cases of beheadings, kidnappings, and ambushes are still being reported by conflict monitors, even as the jihadists (who launched their insurgency in 2017) reportedly try to win civilians' hearts and minds.

More than half a million displaced people have gone back to their homes amid improvements in the security situation, but the returnees face the risk of unexploded ordnance as well as renewed violence. Despite the recent attacks, a southern African military force is set to end its three-year mission in the coming months after a mixed record, and humanitarian funding has also been cut, according to aid groups.

From The New Humanitarian, Feb. 16

The Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) is set to expire just as a new SADC intervention has been prepared for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

The insurgency in Cabo Delgado is now operating under the rubric of the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP), which also has an affiliate in the DRC. 

New mass displacement in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado

Nearly 100,000 people have escaped attacks by jihadist insurgents in Cabo Delgado between December and March—the largest displacement in 18 months, according to Save the Children. (TNH)