Mozambique Security Outlook

As part of our Mozambique reporting service, Castor Vali provides a Weekly Security Report for its clients, focused specifically on the Cabo Delgado insurgency. Each report includes a summary of the week’s key security events, the mapping of pertinent incidents, statistics of attacks from the last few months, and dedicated analysis on key events and outlook for the conflict for the following week.

Clients who sign onto our Mozambique services also gain access to daily and monthly reporting on Mozambique, and ad hoc analyses of topics as and when they arise. Our reporting supports a large number of clients operating in or interested in the region, including those from the oil and gas, finance and insurance, maritime, engineering, and NGO sectors, among others.

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A snapshot of our report issued on Monday 17 May is as follows:

Mozambique Weekly Security Report

Week in Review – Looking Back

  • The lull in major al-Sunnah militant attacks continued during the Ramadan period, with several small-scale clashes reported in Nangade and Mueda districts, and one maritime attack reported on 12 May on Makolowe Island in Macomia district. Reports that militants are amassing in Mocímboa da Praia have alarmed the security forces, who appear to anticipate an impending attack on Mueda now. Increased aerial surveillance of the Mocímboa da Praia-Mueda road was also noted during the reporting period.
  • On 10 May, Mozambique and Portugal signed a five-year security cooperation agreement, which will include the near-term deployment of additional special forces personnel to conduct training of the Mozambican security forces, as well as the provision of direct operational support. However, there has been little further progress on the proposed European Union (EU) support mission, with reports indicating that discussions in Brussels are proceeding slowly. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) remains committed to providing direct assistance but has yet to announce a new date for a summit to discuss the proposed deployment of a regional intervention force. 
  • The humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado continues to worsen, with a high rate of daily arrivals of internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in Pemba, Nangade, and Mueda. Reports over the past week indicate that the government and security forces are impeding the distribution of aid, and preventing international agencies from accessing affected areas.

Looking Ahead

  • The insurgents have clearly used the Ramadan period to make logistical preparations for an anticipated post-Ramadan offensive, and the coming weeks are likely to see a higher tempo of attacks. The amassing of militants in Mocímboa da Praia appears to indicate the intent to target either Mueda or Palma, with both towns holding significant appeal in terms of strategic and propaganda value. However, while there was little reported activity in Macomia district over the past week, militant movements prior to this week indicate that Macomia has also been prioritised for an attack. A major attack is likely to be precipitated by attacks on proximate villages with the intent of overwhelming security forces with IDPs.
  • The formalisation of additional training arrangements is a welcome development given the shortcomings of Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces (FDS). However, in addition to being a long-term solution, the provision of tactical training to special forces/elite infantry does little to address the FDS’s broader deficits – including in terms of intelligence, air support, medevac, and command and control. The anticipated deployment of Portuguese reconnaissance Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will cover only a small portion of the capability gap. At the same time, there are few indications that a larger military intervention is on the horizon, with the SADC delays and President Filipe Nyusi’s sustained resistance to foreign involvement in Mozambique creating significant uncertainty.
  • Attempts to impede the delivery of international aid fit with a broader pattern of activity by the Mozambican government and security forces, where access to Cabo Delgado has been increasingly tightened in an attempt to obtain control over the flow of information. The government is trying to project a narrative that sees it in control, and has consistently downplayed the severity of the situation, most likely to convince foreign oil and gas operators that it is adequately addressing the security challenges. Moreover, local political and security officials have increasingly used their control over aid distribution to reward supporters or punish communities, which is likely to further heighten distrust of the government in Cabo Delgado.
Insurgents attacks per district – the year to date
Insurgents attacks in the last 6 weeks

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