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Who is the new militant group threatening Mozambique?

This is a war. But we don’t know who is attacking; we don’t know why we’re fighting.”

Not only did the attack on a police station in northern Mozambique in October 2017 shock people, but it also spread confusion throughout the southern African nation.

What became clear after the fog cleared is that the country is facing a new militant group: Ahlu Sunnah wa Jamaah.

The group first appeared after a raid that killed two policemen. Since then, 283 people, 143 of those are civilians, have been killed in the insurgency, according to a local report.

The northernmost province of Cabo Delgado has been hit by violence and the group not only threatens lives, but it also threatens the country’s hopes for prosperity, following a troubled past.

From 1977 to 1992, Mozambique witnessed a devastating civil war that killed nearly one million people and ruined the country’s already poor infrastructure.

The 15-year civil war was fought between the ruling Marxist-Leninist Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and insurgent forces of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) that was backed by anti-communist, white-ruled Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa.

Although fighting broke out again between the two groups in 2013 and 2016, the peace agreement that ended the deadly civil war managed to survive somehow.

However, this new militant organisation’s attacks could easily disrupt the relative stability that the country has enjoyed after decades of civil war and weak governance.

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