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What next for the insurgency in Cabo Delgado?


There is no military solution to the insurgency in Mozambique. Dialogue, development, and opportunity are needed to drain the support for a radicalized core.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold a two-day extraordinary Troika Summit in Maputo on 8-9 April to deliberate on measures to address the armed militancy in northern Mozambique.

Countering the armed militants known locally as al-Shabab is an urgent regional and international priority following their attacks on Palma since 24 March and the devastation caused in deaths, displaced, and destruction and damage to property. The government recaptured the town on 5 April but it is too soon to assess the total death count in Palma, likely to be in the dozens with thousands newly-displaced.

Since 2017, some 2,500 have been killed and nearly 700,000 internally displaced by this insurgency, but the Palma attack is a new morbid watershed. Exactly one year ago, a Mozambican government on the back foot commissioned South African private security company, the Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), to support its counter-insurgency operations after disappointing results from the Russian Wagner private military company in late 2019.

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