“The United States is committed to supporting Mozambique with a multifaceted and holistic approach to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism,” the U.S. Embassy in Maputo said in a statement on Monday. “This approach addresses socioeconomic development issues as well as the security situation.”
The statement further added that “civilian protection, human rights, and community engagement are central to U.S. cooperation and are foundational to effectively counter [ISIS] in Mozambique.” The ISIS terrorist group first emerged in 2004 in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. Special Operations Command Africa will provide training as well as “government-provided medical and communications equipment” in Mozambique, located on the southeastern coast of Africa.
It comes after a UK-based NGO, Save the Children, reported that children as young as 11 have been beheaded by terrorists in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. The group did not say who was behind the attack, although ISIS-linked terrorists are fighting a conflict in the area.
“We tried to escape to the woods, but they took my eldest son and beheaded him,” a 28-year-old woman told the NGO. “We couldn’t do anything because we would be killed too.”
According to the group, about 670,000 people have been displaced inside Mozambique due to the conflict. More than 2,600 people have died.
“Save the Children is outraged and deeply saddened by reports that children are being targeted in this conflict. Every child has the right to life and safety, and children must be protected under all circumstances, including war and armed conflicts. For the children who may have witnessed their siblings being murdered, their suffering could last for years,” wrote Save the Children.
In November, meanwhile, more than 50 people were reportedly beheaded by Islamist terrorists, state media reported.
The U.S. State Department, in a March 11 update, said that ISIS in Mozambique—known as Ansar al-Sunna or “al-Shabaab in Mozambique”—was designated as a foreign terrorist organization and also declared its leader, Abu Yasir Hassan, as designated terrorists.
“Since October 2017, ISIS-Mozambique, led by Abu Yasir Hassan, has killed more than 1,300 civilians, and it is estimated that more than 2,300 civilians, security force members, and suspected ISIS-Mozambique militants have been killed since the terrorist group began its violent extremist insurgency,” said the State Department. “The group was responsible for orchestrating a series of large-scale and sophisticated attacks resulting in the capture of the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia, Cabo Delgado Province.”