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Combined forces deliver critical blow to insurgency in Mozambique

The ‘surprising’ results may be enough to eventually end the Islamist insurgency that has ravaged Cabo Delgado since 2017
  • President Felipe Nyusi said ‘practically all’ insurgent bases were destroyed but urged the public to ‘step up vigilance’





Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi praised a combined defence force on Sunday, saying its  work had quelled the Islamist insurgency that has long plagued the northern province of Cabo Delgado and reduced insurgents to “wandering around in the bush.”

“The result of this combination of forces is surprising. They managed to dislodge the terrorists from all the towns and villages that had been occupied, destroyed practically all the enemy’s fixed bases, making them nomadic, and put many violent extremists out of action, including some of their main leaders,” said Nyusi in the town of Mueda. He renewed his appeal to the population to “continue to step up vigilance” as some have reported insurgents passing through neighbouring districts. 

The Mozambique Armed Defence Forces achieved this breakthrough with the assistance of the Rwandan military, the mission of southern Africa countries and a local militia.

[See more: Insurgent attacks force thousands to flee in northern Mozambique]

Some 5,712 fatalities have been reported from political violence in Cabo Delgado as of 24 May. Around 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began in October 2017 and less than half have returned, finding the homes and villages left behind devastated by conflict.

The announcement of progress in combating this years-long conflict came as Nysui marked the 64th anniversary of the Mueda Massacre – the killing of 600 people by Portuguese troops, who opened fire on pro-independence protestors in Mueda.

Nyusi also inaugurated the refurbishment of the local aerodrome, which will now serve as a civil and military airport. It raises the total number of runways in the province to four, including the international airport in the provincial capital of Pemba, around 260 kilometres southeast of Mueda. 

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