The United States is “determined” to support the Mozambican government in combating insurgents in Cabo Delgado, which they consider linked to the Islamic State / ISIS, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby today.
The Defense Department official reacted in Washington to the attack by insurgents that the United States calls ISIS-Mozambique (also known as Ansar al-Sunna) against the village of Palma, which claimed dozens of deaths.
“We remain determined to cooperate with the Mozambican government in counterterrorism and combating violent extremism and to defeat ISIS,” said Kirby, in a statement condemning the attack.
The attacks “demonstrate a total lack of respect for the well-being and security of the local population, who suffer terribly from the brutal and indiscriminate tactics of the terrorists,” he said.
The Islamic State has already claimed the attack and even control of the village, close to the Afungi peninsula, the epicenter of Mozambican natural gas projects.
Kirby did not explain how the Department of Defense could support the specific case of Palma.
In mid-March, the North American Command for Africa (Africom) announced the start of a program to train special Mozambican troops.
A few days earlier, the US State Department designated ISIS-Mozambique and its leader Abu Yasir Hassan as terrorists.
“Since October 2017, ISIS-Mozambique, led by Abu Yasir Hassan, will have killed around 1,200 civilians”, states a note from the State Department sent to Lusa.
“It is estimated that more than 2,300 civilians, members of the security forces and suspected ISIS-Mozambique militants have been killed since the terrorist group started its violent extremist insurgency,” he added.
ISIS-Mozambique, locally known as al-Shabaab, allegedly swore allegiance to ISIS as early as April 2018 and was recognized by the organization as an affiliate in August 2019.
“The group was responsible for orchestrating a series of sophisticated and large-scale attacks that resulted in the capture of the strategic port of Mocímboa da Praia, Cabo Delgado Province. The ISIS-Mozambique attacks also contributed to the displacement of more than 670,000 people in northern Mozambique “, states the State Department.
On Wednesday, Palma, the district seat village with 42,000 inhabitants, hosting the major gas projects in northern Mozambique, was attacked by ‘jihadist’ insurgent groups that have terrorized the region for three and a half years. The attack was claimed this afternoon by the Islamic State terrorist group.
Dozens of civilians, including seven people trying to flee the main hotel in Palma, in northern Mozambique, were killed by the armed group that attacked the village.
Violence caused more than 2,000 deaths and nearly 700,000 displaced people.
Several countries have offered military support in the field to Maputo to fight these insurgents, whose actions have already been claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but, so far, there has not yet been an opening for this, although there are reports and testimonies that point to the existence of companies security and mercenaries in the area.
Source: with Agencies/Lusa