As well as technical support and training for the Mozambican police and military, “the international community should consider other forms of direct military assistance to Cabo Delgado,” the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change said Wednesday (17 July). “For almost three years, the ISIS-affiliated extremist group Ansar al-Sunna has spearheaded an insurgency in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado,” the report says, and argues that “in the context of Islamist extremism across the African continent, the situation is not unique.”

“We see a strong risk of the security situation deteriorating further over the next 18 months unless a coordinated transnational effort is launched to assist national authorities to counter Ansar al-Sunna,” the report continues. It recommends “The US, UK, EU and other actors provide technical support and training” to the Mozambican police and military.

The report puts overwhelming stress on outside Islamic involvement. But it admits the militant group “exploits Islam and local grievances to recruit members and uses its regional and global links to train and arm them. Ansar al-Sunna’s message has resonated with disgruntled youth in Mozambique. The group’s hard-line narrative positioned its idea of puritanical Islamic government as a panacea for decades of political exclusion, unemployment and poverty, which are more prevalent in the Muslim-majority areas of the north.”

The Blair Institute argues that “Ansar al-Sunna is a home-grown insurgency amplified by transnational networks” that is now so strong that it requires external support “to counter and prevent Islamist extremism.” But after seven recommendations on political and miitary intervention, it ‘s last recommendation is “support the government of Mozambique to address underlying socio-economic drivers of extremism in Cabo Delgado through targeted developmental, educational and vocational interventions.”


Tony Blair has a history here. As Prime Minister of the UK, he used false claims of Islamic weapons of mass destruction to promote the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. From 2001 to 2007 he strongly backed Gadaffi in Libya in order to gain his support against militant Islam in Africa and Afghanistan. Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have never recovered and their wars continue.  jh

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