Ignoring the Roots of Mozambique’s War in a Push for Military Victory

Hanlon, Joseph (2021). Ignoring the Roots of Mozambique’s War in a Push for Military Victory. Conflict Trends, 2021(2)

URL: https://www.accord.org.za/conflict-trends/ignoring...


The civil war in Cabo Delgado, a province in the north east of Mozambique, has continued since 2017. The roots of the Cabo Delgado civil war involve a complex mix of history, ethnicity and religion, fuelled by poverty and growing inequality and what might be called the resource curse. The post-2000 resource boom of rubies, graphite and the natural gas led to increased poverty and sharply increased inequality, with arguments that Frelimo oligarchs were siphoning off the wealth - as the Portuguese had done before. When the insurgency began, it was joined by farmers, fishers and artisanal miners who had been thrown off land by the mine owners and gas companies.

Mozambique's government, and many of its foreign backers, want a military victory against insurgents. History suggests that without dealing with the grievances, this will not work.

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