Counterterrorism in Mozambique – CTC Sentinel

Map of Mozambique

The March 2023 issue of the CTC Sentinel has an article entitled “The Enduring Counterterrorism Challenge in Mozambique”. The article traces the history of a growing insurgency in the Cabo Delgada Province in northern Mozambique. The world took notice when the group launched an attack in March 2021 against a coastal town that was considered secure. The capture of the town threatened a huge liquified natural gas project.

International and regional military and police forces, beginning in the spring of 2021, began deploying to the country to assist in the counterinsurgency effort against the jihadi group. Among these advisory and training efforts was the introduction of U.S. Special Forces in Mozambique.

After a period of reduced activity in the last part of 2021 and early 2022 the jihadi group increased its operations and moved into new areas of the northern province. The insurgents revised their strategic approach to targets and civilians. It began attempts at winning the hearts and minds of the population. The use of the media by both the insurgents and the government has increased in frequency and in importance.

The long term outlook for the security situation in Mozambique will not be affected by the introduction of security force assistance alone. A comprehensive approach to the insurgency has to include addressing of unresolved grievances, providing security to not just economic zones but areas where the insurgents are active, and improved coordination and communication among the various security entities (domestic and foreign),


“The Enduring Counterterrorism Challenge in Mozambique”, CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, March 23, 2023, pages 1-6.

Author. Emilia Columbo is a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program. She is a former senior intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Map. Source Central Intelligence Agency.

Related Article. In early 2021 the United States deployed Green Berets in response to the growth of insurgent activity in northern Mozambique. Read more on this in “US SF Training Mozambique Military in Fight Against Insurgents”, SOF News, March 24, 2021.

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