Why is Islamic State attacking Cabo Delgado?



After declaring that Islamic State (IS) has been defeated, one place where a form of IS has re-emerged is northern Mozambique in a place called Cabo Delgado. Although previously thought to be defeated, the group's followers, ideals and beliefs did not ever leave and Islamic States Central African Provision (ISCAP) was born as the African version of the Islamic State.

On the 5th August 2020 ISCAP insurgents attacked the port town of Mocimboa da Praia in Northern Mozambique seizing control from the security forces. In the conflict 1,500 people were killed and over 300,000 displaced with many more wounded. ISCAP then declared the town as their new capital with the intention of duplicating the model in Aleppo in Syria where they used their new base to raise their profile internationally.


So how did Islamic State end up in Mozambique?


The insurgency didn't begin in Mozambique, it originated in Mombasa in Kenya when the hardline Islamic cleric Aboud Rugo Mohammed was killed in August 2012. A well known Al-Shabaab supporter on the UN sanctions list, he promoted extremism and recruited from across Africa helping them to bypass authorities to travel to Somalia to be trained. After the shooting, his supporters fled South across the Kenyan border and into the Kibiti area of Tanzania where they regrouped. Some members went even further South into Northern Mozambique, here they joined forces with another hardline religious group and renamed themselves Ansar Al Sunna.

In October 2017 the group attacked Police Stations in the town of Mocimboa da Praia that would later become their new base. As the group grew in numbers more attacks against security forces and pro-government civilians were launched across northern Mozambique and in 2019 Ansar Al Sunna swore their allegiance to the Islamic State.


Why Cabo Delgado?