On August 11th, ISIS militants captured a heavily-defended port in Mozambique, following days of fighting over the valuable position.
Local media say government forces that were in the far northern town of Mocimboa da Praia fled after the Islamists stormed the port.
The town is close to the site of natural gas projects worth $60 million.
Local sources report that another attack on Mosimboa da Praia began on the night of August 6th.
Much of the city quickly came under militant control, but the Mozambican fusiliers (marines) held the harbor until August 11, when they ran out of ammunition.
Media affiliated with ISIS have posted photos of numerous trophies captured from the Mozambican army and killed soldiers.
A French-made HSI32 boat, used by the Mozambican coast guard was also reportedly destroyed by an RPG.
Air support for the Mozambican security forces was provided by the South African PMC Dyck Advisory Group, but its effectiveness was limited by the fact that helicopters and aircraft had to operate from an airfield in Pemba, located at a relatively long distance from Mosimboa da Praia.
An attempt to supply the marines holding the harbor from the air also failed due to the low accuracy of the supply.
It is entirely unknown whether ISIS’ control over Mosimboa da Praia will last long: earlier the militants preferred to use the “hit and run” tactics, attacking and leaving settlements before the main forces arrived.
However, the growing intensity of attacks indicates that the ISIS terrorists are shifting away from raids and towards permanent control of territories.
It should be added that in addition to the city itself, the militants stormed two military bases, suppressing the resistance of the military. The army’s losses reportedly sit at upwards of 60 troops.
ISIS media wings reported that it had taken over two military bases near Mocimboa da Praia, killed Mozambique soldiers and captured weaponry, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
The fight would’ve continued if the supply delivery hadn’t failed and they ran out of ammunition.
ISIS effectively stormed and defeated an army battalion, and the remaining forces retreated north of the Mozambican city.
The militants are now able to use both the port for operations along the coast and the airfield.
Attacks began in 2017 in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, but escalated this year after the group responsible, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Tanzania said it is launching an offensive against the jihadists in forests on the border with Mozambique.
This is a very worrisome development for both Mozambique, but also for all of its members. Lasting territory control by ISIS means that the group has spread its influence so much and gathered so much equipment that it can now begin rebuilding the caliphate but in Africa, instead of Iraq and Syria.
The fact that the port is near several high-investment natural gas projects may, however, serve as an impetus for a more focused international effort to cleanse the area.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- ISIS Rises Again In Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Killing Dozens In Large Attack
- Mozambique Authorities Claim Significant Success In Pushing ISIS Back