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Al-Shabaab Kills More Than 50 Young Men in Mozambique

In April 2020 more than 50 young men in a small village in Cabo Delgado province were murdered for reportedly resisting recruitment into al-Shabaab.

Suspected al Shabab militants

In April 2020, more than 50 young men in the small village of Muidumbe in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, were murdered by suspected members of the Islamic State-affiliated militant group al-Shabaab. The men were reportedly killed for refusing to join al-Shabaab, which has been waging an insurgency in Cabo Delgado since 2017.

The killings in Muidumbe were the latest in a series of atrocities committed by al-Shabaab in Cabo Delgado. In 2020, the group was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians, the displacement of tens of thousands more, and the destruction of entire villages.

The violence in Cabo Delgado has had a devastating impact on the province. The economy has been crippled, and the provision of basic services, such as healthcare and education, has been severely hampered. The humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado is one of the worst in Africa, and it is only getting worse.

The Mozambican government has been struggling to contain the insurgency in Cabo Delgado. The government has deployed troops to the province, but they have been unable to defeat al-Shabaab. The international community has also been slow to respond to the crisis, and there is a growing sense of urgency to find a solution.

The killings in Muidumbe are a reminder of the human cost of the conflict in Cabo Delgado. The violence is not only destroying lives, it is also undermining the future of the province. The international community must do more to help Mozambique end the violence and rebuild Cabo Delgado.

Ansar al-Sunna and al-Shabab terrorist offenses has led to record numbers of civilian casualties and targeted killings in Mozambique. The ongoing storm of atrocities is costing lives and spreading terror. Citizens in Mozambique Cabo Delgado province have experienced deep trauma due to terrorist attacks. They’re worried that the country could descend into chaos or the Ansar al-Sunna and al-Shabab terrorist groups could carry out revenge attacks. 

Imagine if all residents living in the US city of San Jose Texas or Jacksonville Florida had to flee their homes all at once due to a extremist group terrorist attack in their city. San Jose and Jacksonville have a population of around one million people, Mozambique Cabo Delgado Province, since 2017 has had nearly one million people flee because of a swelling armed conflict with Ansar al-Sunna and al-Shabab terrorist groups. 

Two main extremist groups may have carried out indiscriminate killings of civilians, including women and children, beheadings, kidnappings, and looting and burning out villages. Access to information and the freedom of expression are almost nonexistent as the world of violence continues. Ansar al-Sunna and al-Shabab are armed with small arms, machine guns, improvised explosives, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Al-Shabaab means The Youth in Arabic is a Salafist jihadist group based in East Africa, assessments in 2020 ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 fighters. Since 2017, Ansar al-Sunna  has killed more than 2,500 people in Mozambique. Ansar al-Sunna can trace its roots back to the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Ansar al-Sunna has conducted an insurgency against the Mozambique Government since 2017, and ISIS publicly recognized Ansar al-Sunna as an affiliate in June 2019 with an estimate of 800 fighters.  

Terrorists captured an entire town in Mozambique.

Where is Mozambique? Mozambique is in Southeastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, laying between South Africa to the south, Tanzania to the north and Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe to the west. Mozambique is the world's 36th-largest country and Africa's 16th largest county.

In northern Mozambique the Cabo Delgado province is an area known for rich liquid natural gas deposits. In March 2021, Ansar al-Sunna seized the Cabo Delgado province town of Palma holding it for 4 days killing an estimated 100 unarmed civilians and Mozambique police personnel. A lack of water has forced many of the town's residents to leave after the terrorist group Al Shabab attacked and destroyed the town's well.

Worse yet, the UN reported native Mozambican children as young as five have been shown how to handle weapons and forced to fight with Ansar al-Sunna and al-Shabab in military style training camps. In April 2020 more than 50 young men in a small village in Cabo Delgado province were murdered for reportedly resisting recruitment into al-Shabaab.

In addition to losing their families, these child soldiers have been exposed to extreme violence, sexual violence and abductions. Many families are running South or into neighbouring Tanzania with only the clothes on their backs. The violence left at least one million people in Northern Mozambique with no access to their lands and no means of earning a living. 

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing a major cities in a matter of days. When fighting broke out in 2020, neutral safety zones were nonexistent causing millions of people to flee the violence. The groups have also targeted banks looting cash reserves and taken control of Cabo Delgado province natural resources, including gas, gems, and timber to sell for profit in order to fund its terrorist activities and swell its ranks.

What will happen next in Mozambique Cabo Delgado province? It’s not clear. The criminal and terrorist networks say they do not want to form an inclusive, Islamic government. They are not holding negotiations with senior politicians, including leaders in the tribal government.

Mozambican children and mothers
Mozambican children and mothers.

Did you know?

The Bureau of Counterterrorism in the US State Department reviews potential foreign organizations by investigating actual terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, also if the group has engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism or retains the capability and intent to carry out such acts.

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