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Mozambique braced for new jihadist attacks

MOZAMBIQUE is bracing itself for a new attack from homegrown jihadists in the north of the country, with the Pangea-Risk consultancy group warning yesterday that it could be imminent.

The intelligence-gathering firm cited local sources and said an attack on the town of Quitanda, near the Afungi gas site, is expected in the coming weeks.

Islamists known locally as al-Shabab seized control of the town of Palma in oil-rich Cabo Delgado province last month, holding it for 12 days until the military drove them back. Some 30,000 people fled the attack and many are staying in overcrowded refugee camps.

This al-Shabab group is not linked to the better known organisation that operates in east Africa and Yemen. It pledges allegiance to Isis and has been capturing towns in northern Mozambique since it launched an insurgency in 2017. The Islamists have been accused of committing war crimes in Cabo Delgado, including the beheading of children.

A Southern African Development Community emergency meeting discussed the situation in Mozambique last week, calling for an “immediate technical deployment.”

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