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Mozambique's jihadi rebels launch new offensive in North

Mozambique's jihadi rebels launch new offensive in North
In this image made from video, Rwandan police patrol a road in Palma, ...   -  
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Marc Hoogsteyns/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


A new offensive by Mozambique's Islamic extremist rebels in the embattled northern province of Cabo Delgado has increased the number of displaced by 80,000 and undermines the government's claims of containing the insurgency.

The rebels have expanded their area in a campaign that has lasted for more than two months. The new offensive, which started in June, follows a period of relative calm when the commander-general of Mozambique's national police had declared that "the war against terrorism is almost at an end."

That claim proved to be hollow as the fighters struck further south than ever before, burning villages and beheading civilians in the Ancuabe, Chiure and Mecufi districts which had previously been untouched by the conflict since it began in October 2017.

The latest bout of violence brings the total number of people displaced in Cabo Delgado to just under 950,000, according to estimates by the International Organization for Migration.

Despite the military support that Mozambique is receiving from troops sent by neighbouring countries and Rwanda, the rebels are far from defeated. The foreign troops were deployed in Cabo Delgado a year ago, following the extremists' seizure of the strategic town of Palma in March 2021.

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