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The caliphate comes to Cabo Delgado

Insurgents now control all traffic from Mucojo and up the coast of Macomia

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo © Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. Could the insurgents’ occupation of the village of Mucojo, in the coastal part of Macomia district, be the nucleus of an attempt to establish an islamic caliphate in Cabo Delgado?

The strategic village, sitting on a crossroads and close to the fishing village of Pangane, is already referred to among the insurgents as the Mozambican Medinah — the second most holy city in Islam, after Mecca.

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The insurgents occupying the village have imposed a strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, on residents, local sources told Zitamar News. Since the occupation of Mucojo began on 18 January, they have banned certain haircuts, the sale of alcohol and the wearing of tight or tapered trousers, while encouraging people to practise daily prayers at mosques, according to sources.

Islamic State Mozambique (ISM) has not made a meaningful attempt to establish a caliphate, or traditional Islamic state, in Cabo Delgado before. Even in Mocímboa da Praia, which insurgents occupied for a year between August 2020 and August 2021, little effort was made to introduce Islamic government as the town was abandoned by civilians. But now in Mucojo and along the Macomia coast, ISM has a population over which to rule. 

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