Mozambique, Tanzania sign accord to fight insurgency

Tanzania and Mozambique have reached an agreement to join forces to fight extremist violence that has claimed hundreds of lives in the two neighbouring countries, Mozambican state media said Monday.

Their respective police chiefs met at the weekend in Tanzania’s southeastern town of Mtwara, where they signed a memorandum of understanding to crack down on the unrest.

“We have agreed on how our forces can work together against these criminals,” Tanzanian police chief Simon Sirro said after the meeting.

The agreement comes a month after suspected Mozambican jihadists staged a daring cross-border raid in Tanzania and killed an unknown number of people.

The insurgents terrorising Mozambique’s gas-rich Cabo Delgado province have in recent months intensified a violent campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate, which has now spilled north into Tanzania.

“We will have joint operations (and) exchange information in our endeavour to end terrorism in our border areas,” said Mozambique’s police chief Bernardino Rafael.

“I believe with this partnership… we (will be) able to finish the terrorists,” he added.

As part of the deal, more than 500 suspected militants arrested in Tanzania will be extradited to Mozambique, according to national broadcaster TVM.

A shadowy Islamist group has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since 2017, killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands.

Locally they are known as Al-Shabab, although they have no known links to the ruthless jihadist group of that name operating in Somalia.

Their attacks have increasingly been claimed by the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP), affiliated with the Islamic State group.

International conflict data provider ACLED has recorded more than 2,000 fatalities from the conflict, while Mozambique’s Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho last week said at least 500,000 had fled their homes because of the violence.