Overview:  ISIS-Mozambique (ISIS-M) insurgents continued to carry out attacks in northern Mozambique in 2022, despite pressure from Mozambican Defense and Security Forces (FDS) and their regional military partners from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF).  FDS, SAMIM, and RDF continued to hold key territory recaptured from ISIS-M in 2021, which facilitated the return of some IDPs.  Open-source reporting indicated an overall decrease in the number of terrorist attacks in 2022, compared with 2021.  Ongoing violence in the northern provinces has displaced an estimated one million people since it began in 2017.

From January to March, FDS, SAMIM, and RDF security operations continued to displace ISIS-M from strongholds, capturing a primary ISIS-M base in Cabo Delgado Province (CDP).  ISIS-M attacks in eastern Niassa Province stopped in early January.  The majority of ISIS-M activity in early 2022 concentrated on raiding supplies from local villages and communities in CDP.  In June, ISIS-M cells conducted attacks in southern CDP, and in September, they attacked villages in two districts in northern Nampula Province.  In November and December, ISIS-M increasingly attacked security forces.  The security situation continued to disrupt economic activity in northern Mozambique, including prolonging TotalEnergies’ force majeure declared in March 2021.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  The following list details a sample of significant attacks:

  • On December 20, in Nova Zambezia, Chai, Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province, ISIS-M militants attacked and looted a national army base, killing four persons including a member of the local militia.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • On November 28, in Nanungu, Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province, ISIS-M militants killed five Mozambican soldiers at a vehicle patrolling position.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • On November 20, on a road in Xitaxi, Muidumbe District, Cabo Delgado Province, ISIS-M militants ambushed a vehicle by burning it, killing a police chief and an NGO worker from Solidarités International.  Three others were killed in the attack.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.  In a second attack that day, ISIS-M militants shot at a vehicle from the same convoy that was pulled over on the side of the road; however, no fatalities were reported and no claim of responsibility was made for the second attack.
  • On November 14, in Muambala, Muidumbe District, Cabo Delgado Province, ISIS-M militants attacked the village from two directions, killing three persons and kidnapping three others.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • On September 6, in Chipene, Nacala Diocese, Nampula Province, ISIS-M militants attacked a Catholic mission, shooting and killing a nun.  The perpetrators also burned down and destroyed a church, a hospital, schools, and vehicles.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • On August 2, in Litandacua, Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province, ISIS-M militants beheaded three Christians and burned down homes.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  In May the Government of the Republic of Mozambique (GRM) passed a domestic antiterrorism and counterproliferation amendment law that allows for the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, including the imposition of targeted sanctions and the freezing of terrorist assets.  Civil society organizations and journalists, however, warned the law could suppress free speech and press freedom in addition to prolonging the detention of persons accused of terrorism.

There were no significant changes in 2022 to Mozambique’s law enforcement counterterrorism capacity.  Border security remained a challenge for Mozambique, with no significant changes in 2022.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Mozambique is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).  Its FIU is the Gabinete de Informação Financeira de Moçambique (or GIFiM).  Mozambique was added to the FATF “gray list” in 2022.

Since the adoption of its mutual evaluation report in April 2021, FATF reported that Mozambique has made progress on some of the report’s recommended actions to improve its system, including by finalizing its national risk assessment and strengthening its asset confiscation efforts.  In May, Mozambique passed an antiterrorism and counterproliferation law that provides for the imposition of targeted sanctions, including the freezing of terrorist assets.  In July, another law was passed establishing further Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures.  In October, Mozambique made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and ESAAMLG to strengthen the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  In June the GRM approved the Program for Resilience and Integrated Development for Northern Mozambique (PREDIN) to address instability in the northern provinces.  PREDIN outlined a plan to advance resilience and peace through the reestablishment of peace and security; promotion of good governance and civic space; and socioeconomic reconstruction and development.

Throughout 2022, the GRM committed to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR) initiative, with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) serving as co-chair of the National Working Group (NWG).  In March the NWG launched a provincial working group in CDP to conduct a baseline study of the drivers and indicators of insecurity and human rights violations.  Later that month, President Filipe Nyusi voiced support for VPSHR at a human rights conference hosted by the MOJ.  In November the GRM engaged at the ministerial level with a Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI) delegation and expressed openness toward applying for VPI membership.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Mozambique continued to accept military assistance from SADC, Rwanda, the EU, and the United Kingdom.  In April the EU announced it would increase its EU Training Mission (EUTM) assistance to the FDS by about $50 million, almost doubling its total contribution to about $98 million.  The EUTM trained two classes of FDS Quick Reaction Force cadets during 2022.  The EU also announced nearly $22 million in funding for RDF and about $16.5 million for SAMIM operations in Mozambique.  In March, President Nyusi attended an “Aqaba Process” conference in Jordan that focused on violent extremism.

On This Page

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future