- The army was allegedly forced to surrender after running out of ammunition.
- Mr. Nyusi is visiting Pemba constituency, an area hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter.
- The move follows several days of fighting to seize the gas-rich port in the north.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has visited the northern province of Cabo Delgado in an area where security forces are fighting Islamist militants. Earlier this week, it was reported that the militants had invaded the main port of Mocimboa da Praia, and put it under their control.
The army was allegedly forced to surrender after running out of ammunition. Mr. Nyusi is visiting Pemba constituency, an area hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter. He said militants who are linked to the Islamic State terrorist group ‘IS’ have not issued any threat against international efforts to destroy stored gas.
The rebels appear to be entering the country rapidly, and making Mozambique’s national security a reality. Information about what is going on in Mocimboa da Praia is difficult to identify as roads, electricity, and telephone equipment have been cut off. There is evidence that the rebels are well-armed and have strong intentions to achieve their goal.
The militants are known as al-Shabab or young people, who have an Islamic agenda. However, for decades, they have been built up by a lack of infrastructure, unemployment, unfair elections, corruption, and conflict.
Mozambique on Wednesday said that its forces were fighting to take control of the port after several reports claimed it had been captured by Islamic State militants. The city is close to $60 billion in natural gas projects.
The military has said action has been taken against the group, which has been using locals as its shield. The move follows several days of fighting to seize the gas-rich port in the north.
Mozambique an IS Militant Base?
The capture of the port is a major blow to the Mozambican army, which has a difficult time controlling the growth of rebel groups in the oil-rich region of Cabo Delgado. The port of Mocimboa da Praia is used for freight forwarding for coastal projects approximately 60 km (40 miles), which is being developed by major oil companies in the world.
Militants linked to the Islamic State group have been seizing several northern cities in recent months, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. This was one of several attacks on the port of Mocimboa da Praia this year.
Tanzania has also said it will carry out attacks against jihadist militias in forests near the border with Mozambique. Mozambican defense forces have continued to insist that fighting for the liberation of Mocimboa da Praia port is still ongoing.
However, the events of the past few weeks have highlighted the weakness within the military and how Islamist rebels continue to establish themselves where they are now emerging and show how potentially a threat the region can be.
Various reports indicate that government forces had been forced to surrender after running out of weapons. Several soldiers are said to have been killed and a patrol boat sank. In recent months, insurgents have taken over several towns in the area, some of which appear to be propaganda.
Some of the world’s largest energy companies are now seeking more protection as they prepare to start producing oil in Mozambique’s wells. In addition, the government has sought help from international security contractors. So far, it seems unprepared to turn to neighboring countries for military assistance.
Attacks in the northern part of Cabo Delgado began in 2017 but escalated this year after the Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama group, admitting involvement in the attacks, claimed to be allied with IS.
Earlier this week, the IS group claimed to have seized two army barracks near the port of Mocimboa da Praia, where several Mozambican soldiers were killed and their weapons confiscated, including machine guns and grenade launchers.