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Monday, June 17, 2024

The Enduring Counterterrorism Challenge in Mozambique

Security improvements along the coast belie long-term counterterrorism challenges as the government struggles to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy.

The conflict in northern Mozambique reached a turning point in March 2021 when the ASWJ insurgency launched its most audacious attack to date against the town of Palma, widely considered by locals and the international community alike as an island of relative security amid a spreading conflict. While the group achieved short-term material gains and a boost in notoriety as a real threat to the state, the first part of this article outlines how this escalation also proved to be the final straw that would push the Mozambican government into accepting foreign boots on the ground to bolster its own counterinsurgency efforts, turning this short-term win into a strategic error that presented the group with a more hostile battlefield environment.

The second part of the article outlines how, after a period of reduced activity, the group last year began to rebound, leveraging its move into new areas of the province to find new opportunities to undermine the state, obtain new supply sources, and reconsider its relationship with the civilian population more broadly.

As the third part of the article details, these shifting dynamics on the ground have elevated the importance of the information space as both sides seek to persuade their constituencies that the conflict is progressing in their favor.

The fourth part of the article provides an outlook on the terrorist threat environment in Mozambique. Security improvements along the coast belie long-term counterterrorism challenges as the government struggles to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that addresses the underlying social, economic, and political grievances driving this conflict. As displaced people return to their homes, the urgency for effective governance and a security strategy that goes beyond areas of highest economic value becomes more acute—a need that third parties are beginning to fill—further weakening the social contract between the state and the public and lending credence to insurgent propaganda about a government focused on self-enrichment and indifferent to the plight of the poor.

Read more at CTC Sentinel

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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