Why South Africa’s Military May ‘Somehow Get Involved’ in Situation in Northern Mozambique


Northern Mozambique has been in the grip of a jihadist insurgency since 2017, with the violence having reportedly already killed more than 1,000 people there.

In an article published on the website Conversation, political scientist Theo Neethling from the Bloemfontein-based University of the Free State, focused on South Africa’s position pertaining to an increase in “deadly violence” in the northern parts of Mozambique.

He suggested that if approved, the South African military’s goal in northern Mozambique might be tackling “the violent activities of an extremist and militant Islamic group, Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah”.

The author recalled in this regard that the group is also locally known as Al Shabaab, despite the fact that it has no links with the Somali movement of the same name.

He warned that South Africa’s possible interference in the situation in northern Mozambique may require “a counter-terrorism type of operations”, which Neethling claimed would be “highly challenging”.

The author asserted that there should be serious concern over the situation in the area, given that Mozambique borders eSwatini, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Neethling cautioned that although Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah’s headquarters is located at least 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) from South Africa, “the group nevertheless poses a challenge to the country too”.

“After all, Mozambique has strong economic ties with…

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