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24 Mar 2020 | 12:47 AM UTC

Mozambique: Militants assault Mocímboa da Praia March 23

Suspected jihadist militants assault Mocímboa da Praia (Cabo Delgado province) on March 23; military counter-offensive launched

security
MOZ

Event

Suspected militants reportedly cut off the town of Mocímboa da Praia (Cabo Delgado province) on Monday, March 23. Fighters occupied part of the town, including the military barracks, port, and air base, and raised their flag over the town. According to local media reports, residents are being taken to the mosque and locked inside. Military and police forces have launched a counter-offensive and are still attempting to clear the area of the militants as of Monday evening (local time).

Additional militant attacks and security operations are expected in the province over the near term.

Context

Ahlu Sunna Wa-Jamo/Ansar Al-Sunna (Al-Shabaab) is believed to be responsible for carrying out attacks against local businesses, government installations, and security forces in Cabo Delgado province since October 2017. The Islamic State group has also claimed to be active in the province and alleged that its militants carried out the group's first attack in Mocímboa da Praia district in June 2019.

Advice

Individuals in Cabo Delgado province are advised to monitor developments, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

Some Western governments advise against nonessential travel to parts of Cabo Delgado province. Travelers in or intending to travel to Cabo Delgado should seek professional security support due to the volatile security environment and potential for further attacks.