Ansar as-Sunna claims to have joined Daesh, sending many scrambling to crush what they fear is the nucleus of a radical Muslim movement in Mozambique. However, security experts have said the poor region needs “dialogue and development” to root out radicalism and end the violence, not to be flooded with troops.
On Wednesday, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved deployment of a “standby force” to Mozambique, and Reuters reported that the European Union was likely to decide on its own deployment there next month, where nearly 1 million people have been displaced by a growing insurgency.
The troops will buttress the Mozambican military and the private military contractors it has hired to combat Ansar as-Sunna, a Muslim militia in the northern Cabo Delgado province that has formally pledged itself to Daesh, although the substance of the group’s claim remains largely in question.
Tax gave little other information about the force. At an April meeting also held in Maputo, SADC members had suggested a 3,000-soldier force based on a revived Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), an entity created in 2013 as part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) that was entirely staffed by South African, Tanzanian, and Malawian troops.
A veteran of the FRELIMO liberation front’s war of independence against Portugal, Nyusi has been hesitant to allow foreign troops on Mozambican soil. However, shrinking state budgets mandated…