Cabo Delgado and the Rise of Militant Islam: Another Niger Delta in the Making?

The crisis in Cabo Delgado, while cast in terms of the incendiary rhetoric of armed religious extremism, has its origins in the systemic neglect and regional inequalities that plague this ‘forgotten’ province in northern Mozambique. The onset of a resource scramble has seen an influx of economic migrants and spurred rent-seeking by the elite with multinationals. As a result, local communities have become even further marginalised. In this context, Mozambique’s self-styled ‘al-Shabaab’ – and the government’s inept security crackdown in response to these attacks – is further seeding the ground for localised grievances to deepen into long-term structural problems.