Mozambique president visits region beset by Islamists

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Andrew Harding BBC News

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi is visiting the northern province of Cabo Delgado where the army is fighting Islamist insurgents.

The military insists it is now in control of the key port of Mocimboa da Praia, which was reportedly taken by the militants earlier this week.

The army is said to have retreated after running out of ammunition.

Mr Nyusi is visiting the provincial capital, Pemba, which is hundreds of kilometres from the heart of the insurgency.

He says the “terrorists”, who are linked to the Islamic State group, pose no threat to international efforts to exploit the region’s gas reserves.

Yet the rebellion is evolving fast, and Mozambique’s security forces appear to be, almost constantly, on the back foot.

With roads, electricity, and phone-lines cut, information about what is going on in Mocimboa da Praia is hard to come by.

There is growing evidence to suggest that the rebels are now well-armed and increasingly ambitious.

The militants – known locally as al-Shabab, or the youth – have an Islamist agenda, but they’re building on decades of local frustrations about unemployment, rigged elections, corruption and violence.Article share tools