Briefing Paper

Winning Peace in Mozambique’s Embattled North

Since July 2021, Rwandan and southern African troops have deployed to Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, diminishing a nearly five-year-old Islamist insurgency. Insurgents continue to destabilise pockets of territory, however, and have spread into neighbouring Niassa province and Tanzania. They may call increasingly on East African Islamic State networks for support. The foreign troops working with Mozambique’s army have reclaimed significant territory from insurgents, while donor money has brought Cabo Delgado’s population some relief. Yet these remedies alone are unlikely to resolve a conflict born of local grievances. With those untreated, the insurgency will persist as a source of regional insecurity. Mozambique’s African partners should press Maputo to open dialogue involving political elites to set conditions that might persuade insurgents to surrender. While donors scale up aid in the province, the African Union should facilitate regional cooperation to dismantle the insurgency’s transnational networks and seek more funds to sustain military operations.