US special forces have deployed to Mozambique to train local forces to battle an insurgency in the country’s north. A dozen US Army Green Berets started training Mozambican marines this week and will continue to train them over the next two months.
There are other signs that the US may become more involved in Mozambique. The US claims the group fighting in northeastern Mozambique has ties to ISIS. Last week, the Biden administration designated the group, known as al-Sunna wa Jama’a, as a foreign terrorist organization.
But it’s not clear how strong the ties are between al-Sunna wa Jama’a and ISIS, or if they are even linked at all. The US is quick to lump together Islamist militant groups in Africa with ISIS or al-Qaeda as a pretext for intervention.
Even a report The New York Times questioned the link between the two groups. The Times story said some experts fear the terror designation from the US could hamper future efforts to end the fighting through negotiations or complicate humanitarian aid deliveries.
The Times report said the group is estimated to have about 800 members. The fighting has been ongoing since 2017 in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost province of Mozambique, where major natural gas reserves have been discovered in recent years.
The US International Development Finance Corporation, which the Trump administration launched to counter China’s infrastructure projects, has invested heavily in gas projects in Mozambique.