Over the past three and a half years, Mozambique has faced armed violence launched by a jihadi group. With its origins in the northern part of Cabo Delgado and known locally as Al-Shabaab, it began as a religious sect (Morier-Genoud, 2020). It then established itself as a militarized unit and turned to armed violence on October 5, 2017.

Based on fieldwork in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa provinces1, this paper analyses the insurgency based on its dynamics in some districts in Nampula and Niassa. Focusing on the factors behind the progress of the insurgency on the ground, the paper argues that an understanding of the development of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado involves, inter alia, an analysis of the social, economic and religious dynamics in its neighbouring provinces – Nampula and Niassa – that have become fertile recruiting grounds, particularly since 2018. The argument proceeds with two moments. In the first moment, the paper identifies and analyses the main factors in the spread of the insurgency to more districts in Cabo Delgado and the attempt to establish cells with a radical tendency in some districts in Nampula and Niassa. In the second moment, we focus on internal recruitment dynamics, especially in certain districts in the coastal zone of Nampula and on the border between Nias-sa province and Tanzania.

  • Why was the insurgency not confined to Mocím-boa da Praia?
  1. Contextual factors
  2. Institutional factors
  • Cells with a radical tendency and recruitment in Nampula and Niassa: A little discussed subject
  • Dynamics of recruitment in Nampula and Niassa
  • Conclusion
  • References

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By: Salvador Forquilha and João Pereira

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