The Islamist insurgents in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on 10th November attacked the Novo Cabo Delgado village, in the Chai Administrative Post, in the district of Macomia, killing three people and destruction of huts, according to media reports.
According to witnesses, the military fatigues-wearing band entered the village causing death and chaos and seeming to be moving southwards in the direction of Pemba, Cabo Delgado’s capital.
The attack to Novo Cabo Delgado is the second in less than a month, meaning perhaps that the insurgents have resumed attacks following the death of Bonomado Machude Omar in August. The first also took place in the village of Mucojo, also in Macomia district, where the insurgents not only killed but recruited adult males presumably to engross their ranks.
Are the circumstances repeating themselves? In 2019, there was a hiatus in attacks during the electoral process. And in the recently-held municipal elections, there were also no attacks. Now that the elections are over, the attacks are becoming normal again, as if obeying a command from those interested in the electoral process.
Although it is understandable that Bonomado’s death would not mean the end of the insurgency, they were not expected to be so audacious. On the contrary, it was expected that Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces (FDS) and their Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) partners would undertake more of the so-called clarifying actions, but what happened was disappearance of the issue of insurgency and violent extremism in the media for almost two months.
With regards to Bonomade, there are still many questions about him which have ballooned with the circumstances of his death, namely who he was, what his links with the local elites (religious, economic, political and traditional) were, among others.
Furthermore, it should be important to know their logistics supplier; their financial backer; their chain of informants, and critically, what happened during almost a year when the insurgents were masters of Mocímboa da Praia.
People just don’t stand up and pick up weapons, mobilise, recruit, train youths and launch attacks on FDS targets and civilian population. There must be a broader and more complex structure than the killed leaders.
As with Bonomade’s death and those of his subordinates who were killed before him, there are more questions in this war than triumphalist reports, as well as understand why the state seemed to take the foot of the gas pedal in its fight against the insurgency, especially because it was known that they would do anything to regroup following the death of their most important leaders since 2017.
Also, how to explain that the insurgents have been moving with relative impunity southwards, leading the FDS in a state of readiness to defend Pemba even after cutting the head of the insurgency three months ago.
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