By Jorge Joaquim
Mozambique and Tanzania have been criticised by the United States for failing to respond effectively to terrorism threats. In its annual terrorism report for 2020, the US State Department includes Mozambique in a list of “terrorist safe havens”, defined as places where terrorists can operate, recruit and organise relatively safely, due to inadequate government control or political will.
“Mozambique does not have a counterterrorism strategy to guide operations, and law enforcement agencies lack the training, equipment and overall capacity… to proactively detect, deter or prevent acts of terrorism.”
Tanzania is named as a recruitment and transit point for terrorists and criminal organisations operating in Mozambique.
The report said that commanders of the security forces of the two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding about joint counterterrorism operations, intelligence sharing and extradition. Tanzania had also announced the extradition to Mozambique of 516 people arrested in relation to terrorism in Cabo Delgado, it added.
Groups with links to Islamist extremism have carried out attacks in Cabo Delgado since late 2017. Militants have used explosives, machetes and firearms to conduct lethal attacks, including attacks on vehicles.