Conflict in Cabo Delgado: Islamic State threatens South Africa

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The terrorist group threatens South Africa if the country decides to become involved in the conflict in Cabo Delgado province. Analysts speak of propaganda, but alert officials to the possible spread of clashes in SADC.

The province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, has been the scene of armed violence since 2017. Earlier this year, Mozambican and international authorities classified insurgents as a terrorist threat. And several attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The radical group claims that Europe and the United States are trying to convince South Africa to lead the war in Mozambique. In a recent newsletter cited by the South African newspaper The Citizen, extremists recall that Pretoria has several problems at hand, and a war would put the country in military and financial dilemma.

ISIS warns that the group is ready to “open the front” to South African territory. The threat was published in Arabic in a recent insurgent publication, Al-Naba.

German André Thomashausen, professor of international law in South Africa, recalls that these threats are part of the insurgents’ propaganda and that several countries have already been targeted. But he draws attention: “It is really interesting and deserves to be analyzed as there is an escalation, a growing force on the part of that Islamic State or the people that associate with it or the idea of ​​that Islamic State in Cabo Delgado”, he said.

Recently, South African Minister for Foreign Affairs, Naledi Pandor, confirmed that negotiations were ongoing between the two countries on how South Africa can support Mozambique with armed violence in Cabo Delgado.

This week, says The Citizen newspaper, the main South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, questioned South Africa’s Defense Secretary Sam Gulube about a special unit in the Armed Forces he was allegedly training for. Durban.

In response, the South African secretary says that operations are classified. But Thomashausen says the rumors are true. “It is true that there are battalions of special forces from South Africa and specifically there is a unit that has been discussing and that has been preparing for an eventual intervention in northern Mozambique”, he underlined.

Threats to SADC

Responding to questions from South African deputies, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula recently admitted that military intelligence services point to the potential spread of insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado to other Mozambican provinces and Community countries to the Southern African Development (SADC).

Egna Sidumo, a researcher at the Joaquim Chissano University in Maputo, is currently conducting field research on the resilience factors of communities in northern Mozambique against violent extremism. According to testimonies he collected from the local population, the terrorists threaten to extend operations to the provinces of Nampula and Zambézia.

“We have many declarations. I think there are conditions now for action. Countries can join, I don’t know what the best option will be. Mozambique must also rethink and see what is the best option it has to solve this problem or at least mitigate the likelihood of spread, “said the investigator.

Last week, the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, held a telephone conversation with his Tanzanian counterpart and SADC President-in-Office, John Magufuli. The Cabo Delgado insurgency received the attention of the leaders of the two countries that share the border in that region.


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