Photo: GCIS

ISIS captures port in Mozambique, overpowering South African allies

The latest ISIS attack in northern Mozambique threatens Africa’s biggest gas drilling development.


Photo: GCIS

Rebels linked to Islamic State (ISIS) have captured a port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia, which is in northern Mozambique, reports say.

According to Aljazeera, Mozambique’s defence forces confirmed the attack.

“At the moment, there are ongoing actions to neutralise the terrorists that are using populations in the affected areas as shields,” the FDS is quoted as saying in a statement.

“In the last seven days, the joint command of the security and defence forces carried out relevant offensive action against an attempt of occupation of Vila de Mocimboa de Praia by terrorists”

‘South African mercenary allies’ in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

Journalist Jane Flanagan reported on the ISIS insurgency in Mocimboa da Praia, noting that the village — strategically positioned 60 kilometers south of Africa’s biggest gas drilling development — had been overrun by ISIS fighters in a battle which began on 5 August. Writing for The Times, Flanagan said:

“Islamic State militants have overrun government forces and their South African mercenary allies to capture a strategic city in Mozambique.”

ISIS, which has been declared a terror group by the United Nations (UN), was founded in 1999 and has gained notoriety when it began posting videos of its gruesome executions and beheadings of civilians.

This isn’t the first attack on Mozambique by the group, as ISIS has also zeroed in on the Cabo Delgado region earlier in 2020 and prompted South Africa to respond, as member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

ISIS threat to South Africa

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor revealed during a parliamentary committee meeting in May 2020, that the government was engaged in talks on how to help the neighbouring country

The militant group subsequently warned South Africa in July to steer clear of any involvement. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has warned that such a threat should be taken seriously.

ISS Senior Training Coordinator Willem Els said what was needed was the restoration of capacity in the intelligence agencies which were severely undermined during the previous administration.

Els further said that Tighter control of the country’s largely porous borders was also important.

State Security minister Ayanda Dlodlo also echoed the sentiments, telling News24 that ISIS’ comments should not be disregarded as ‘idle threats’.

“It is something we are taking very very seriously. Threats like that were not idle in themselves. We will not take them as idle threats. We have a responsibility to secure our people”, Dlodlo is quoted as saying.

The minister further told the news publication that South Africa would prepare itself for such threats  as it has a responsibility to safeguard the country.

ISIS published a newsletter in Arabic, in which it claimed American and European nations were intervening and trying to convince South Africa to be at the forefront of the war in Mozambique.