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Graphic shows location of the insurgency and factfile about the Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama militant group.
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CONFLICT

U.S. blacklists group in Mozambique over IS links

By Jordi Bou

March 16, 2021 - Aid agency Save the Children says militants are beheading children as young as 11 in Mozambique as part of an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands and forced many more from their homes.

More than 2,600 people have been killed in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province and another 670,000 have been displaced since the insurgency began in 2017.

The militant group Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ) is known locally as Al-Shabab, but has no links to the Somali jihadi group of the same name.

ASWJ is believed to have up to 800 fighters, and is tied to smuggling and criminal networks that provide weapons and other equipment.

The group, which staged its first attack in 2017 and declared allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group in 2019, co-opts young people in to joining the group as conscripts and if they refuse they are killed, sometimes beheaded.

The insurgency is rooted in grievances of Mozambique’s poorest province – locals say they do not benefit from some of the world’s biggest gas reserves.

On March 10, the U.S. designated ASWJ as a terrorist organisation and imposed sanctions on its leader, Abu Yasir Hassan.

U.S. Special Forces have started training Mozambican marines to repel the insurgency.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 16/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News
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