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Political Violence in Cabo Delgado during January 2024

January saw the struggle for control of the Macomia coast and its islands continue, as well as a significant push southwards by Islamic State Mozambique (ISM). More actions by the Naparama militia in southern Cabo Delgado were a reminder that communities’ lack of trust in the state can present itself violently outside of the frame of the insurgency.

On 21 January, ISM took control of Mucojo village in Macomia district after the Defense Armed Forces of Mozambique (FADM) abandoned an outpost there. FADM’s flight came in the wake of threats by ISM arising from at least two incidents in which FADM targeted and killed civilians in Mucojo and neighboring villages in the previous week. 

ISM was involved in three times as many violent events in January as in December, with the vast majority of these incidents being attacks on civilians. ACLED records at least 21 fatalities in such incidents. While the month was notable for the group’s push southwards, more than half of those killings were in Mocímboa da Praia district, north of ISM’s stronghold in Macomia. 

In Ancuabe, Montepuez, and Namuno districts, the Naparama militia targeted facilities associated with the government’s response to the ongoing cholera epidemic. Given similar incidents in December, and the violence that followed the municipal election in Chiure, such violence is indicative of fault lines in Cabo Delgado that remain widespread and deep-rooted.