Hundreds of militants stormed Palma in the northern region of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique on 24 March 2021, targeting shops, banks and a military barracks. Several people were killed trying to escape a siege on a hotel, according to Omar Saranga, a spokesperson from the country’s defence department.
Human Rights Watch said the militants indiscriminately shot civilians in their homes and on the streets.
Militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group are behind the conflict in the predominantly Muslim region. The fighting has left more than 2,500 people dead and 700,000 displaced since the insurgency began in 2017.
A report reveals jihadists linked to ISIS, especially those operating under the name Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ), have consolidated their hold in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado region and captured the city of Mocímboa da Praia in 2020.
If Mozambique and the rest of SADC (Southern African Development Community) fail to act quickly and convincingly, activities of ASWJ will have far-reaching consequences for the entire region.