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Dialogue, aid key to tackle Mozambique insurgency: report


Mozambique’s government should combine its military response to a spiralling insurgency in its gas-rich north with aid to disenchanted communities and dialogue with militants, the International Crisis Group said Friday.

Mozambican woman walks in Palma, a small, palm-fringed fishing town in Mozambique.<br />John Wessels/AFP<br />

 In a report released Friday, the Brussels-based aid group said Mozambique would need to resolve “the set of local factors that have spurred… militants into battle” in order to stem the violence.

 Islamic State-linked jihadists have been terrorising the impoverished Cabo Delgado province since 2017, ransacking villages and towns.

 The conflict has claimed than 2,800 lives, half of them civilians, and forced more than 700,000 from their homes.

 Fighters known locally as Al-Shabab launched an assault on Palma town in March that overwhelmed security forces and caused French energy giant Total to abandon a nearby gas project.

 Dozens of people were killed and 67,000 displaced by the raid, considered one of the worst acts of Islamist militancy in southern Africa and raising international concern.

 The ICG urged Maputo in its report to “use force wisely”, accepting external offers of military assistance but focusing on containing the militants’ expansion and protecting displaced civilians.

 “There needs to be an appropriate level of military support to pressure this group… to consider surrendering, but also to offer them a pathway out,” the report’s main author, Crisis Group Africa expert Dino Mahtani, told AFP.

 To achieve this, the state should use donor money to fund development initiatives that could “soothe local tensions” and provide alternative livelihoods for those considering moving into the insurgency as well those who have already joined their ranks, she added.


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