Slaughtering Christians – Islamic State Central Africa Province's (ISCAP) Regular Tactic For Expansion

By: Romany Shaker*
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April 2, 2021
By: Romany Shaker*

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

The Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP)[1] is one of the Islamic State's (ISIS) African affiliates that the global organization and its new leadership use to demonstrate it continues to be relevant and active.

Since its April 2019 inception, ISCAP has mirrored a strategy adopted by ISIS's most dangerous African branches: the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)[2] in Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso;[3] the Islamic State Sinai Province[4] in Egypt;[5] and the Islamic State Libya Province.[6] This strategy focuses mainly on targeting local Christian communities to swiftly expand in Africa. ISCAP's escalating campaign against Christians is a clear indication that under the global ISIS organization's new leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi, there is no change in the group's strategic direction regarding slaughtering Christians; rather it is likely that he has prioritized the targeting of Christians as a crucial manhaj ("methodology") for expansion in the African continent.

ISIS increasingly relies on its African affiliates to demonstrate its survival and expansion as echoed in the organization's Arabic motto "Baqiyah Wa Tatamadad [remaining and expanding]," particularly after heavy losses suffered in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East.

In an April 2019 video[7] featuring late ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi reviewing monthly reports on the activities of various ISIS branches worldwide, including one report labeled "Central Africa Province," ISIS officially accepted ISCAP's oath of loyalty. The video reflected the first official recognition from the organization's global leadership of ISCAP as a new province in the Islamic Caliphate. In November 2019, ISIS's official weekly Al-Naba' published a photo of a group of ISCAP fighters pledging allegiance to the new leader, Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi.

Since then, ISCAP has become a key focus of the daily claims and messaging of ISIS's central media. ISCAP's activities have shown a steady trend in attacks and modes of operating regarding its attacks on military personnel and interests, Christians, and the UN peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Unlike other African ISIS branches, such as those in West Africa and in East Africa, ISCAP faces no threats or challenges over waging jihad from ISIS's rival Al-Qaeda. This makes ISCAP one of the most potentially conspicuous of ISIS's remote provinces in Africa, whose influence may spread into neighboring countries, particularly Christian-majority countries such as Tanzania and South Africa, if the trend of its attacks continues to rise with no effective counterreaction. In addition, ISCAP's recent sophisticated attacks appear to indicate that the African branch might have the capability to consolidate its total control over a region like Cabo Delgado province, just as ISIS did in Mosul in Iraq in 2014 when its fighters routed the Iraqi army.

This report will review the emergence of ISCAP, the origin of its two wings in the DRC and Mozambique, and its strategy of intensifying attacks on Christians and the potential spillover into neighboring countries, which reflects ISIS's ongoing efforts to use African affiliates, like ISCAP, to expand and make Africa its next frontier.

Background: The Emergence Of ISCAP And The Origin Of Its Two Wings In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo (DRC), Mozambique

In a sudden move in April 2019, ISIS announced the formation of its ISCAP branch when it claimed its first attack in the DRC, around the same time as the April 21, 2019 highly coordinated Easter bombings targeting "Crusaders" and "belligerent Christians" in Sri Lanka that killed 267 people.[8]

Since then, ISCAP has carried out many operations in both northeastern DRC and northern Mozambique, incorporating the two groups under the banner of the newly established branch. In October 2020, ISCAP carried out its first attack in Tanzania, revealing the branch's intention to expand further in eastern Africa and potentially establish a foothold in southern Africa.

ISIS's expansion in Africa is driven by a strategy of working with local militant groups that could turn into official branches if they meet the criteria set by the central leadership for official recognition. If accepted, they become ISIS provinces, just as Boko Haram became ISWAP and Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis became the Islamic State Sinai Province. The ISCAP name is misleading since Mozambique and Tanzania are not part of Central Africa.

ISCAP has two distinct components. One is the DRC-based Ugandan Islamist militant group called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The other is a group of fighters based in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado called alternatively Al-Shabab, Ansar Sunnah, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah, or Adherents to the Sunnah and the Community (ASWJ). It is important to note that this group in northern Mozambique should not be confused by the Somali-based Al-Qaeda affiliate Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen aka Al-Shabab.

ISCAP's DRC Wing

The DRC wing of ISCAP was first made known in April 18, 2019 when ISIS claimed in a statement released by its official media outlet A'maq News Agency its first attack in the DRC.[9] According to the statement, ISCAP fighters had killed and wounded several Congolese soldiers in an attack on the town of Kamango, near the border with Uganda. This was followed by a statement claiming another attack on a military base in the Beni area of Bovata, killing three Congolese soldiers and wounding five.

According to a report by Reuters,[10] the attack killed two Congolese soldiers and a civilian and was carried out by an Islamist group called ADF that has links to ISIS. Reuters cited a report by New York University's Congo Research Group saying that the ADF had received funds from an ISIS-linked financier, suggesting the first concrete proof of ties between the ADF and ISIS.

The ISIS financial facilitator was a Kenyan national named Waleed Ahmed Zein who was designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department. His designation is significant since it gave the first material evidence of links between the ADF and ISIS. Zein was arrested in July 2018 on terrorism financing charges and was sanctioned by the U.S. in September 2018.[11]

On April 15, 2019, OFAC designated a Kenya-based woman named Halima Adan Ali who reportedly worked with Treasury-designated Waleed Ahmed Zein to conduct transactions at the behest of Waleed's Syria-based family member in support of ISIS fighters.[12] Between 2017 and early 2018, Halima received large sums of money and sent it to ISIS fighters in Syria, Libya, and Central Africa. Halima and Waleed's network moved over $150,000 on behalf of ISIS.

ISIS's Al-Naba' weekly newspaper also affirmed the link between ISIS and the ADF. In an "exclusive" report published in Issue 184 of Al-Naba' weekly, which was released on May 30, 2019,[13] ISIS claimed responsibility for the November 2018 killing of "Crusader" UN peacekeepers and Congolese soldiers in the northeastern DRC.

The report, which included ID cards of some of the dead UN peacekeepers, noted that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) acknowledged at the time the loss of at least seven peacekeepers and 12 Congolese soldiers, while ascribing their deaths to "other armed groups spread out in the area." Nevertheless, November 2018 statements by MONUSCO and the United Nations claimed that in operations against the ADF, seven peacekeepers, six Malawian and one Tanzanian, were killed and ten others were wounded, while another 12 Congolese soldiers were killed.[14] These reports ascertained that ISCAP comprises ADF militants, clarifying the relationship between ISIS and the ADF.


The above Al-Naba' article reported that ISCAP fighters killed UN peacekeepers in November 2018 and gave ID cards belonging to dead UN peacekeepers (top to bottom): Cpl. Jonathan Kapichira, Maj. Andrew Milomo, Chancy Mwakalenga, Guatemalan Special Forces soldier Valey Chub, and Sgt. Boniface Nowa.

In December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, DRC, was reportedly closed for more than a week after receiving threats that an ISIS-linked group, probably the ADF, may attack U.S. interests there.[15]

A video that emerged online in 2017 also demonstrates the ties between the ADF and ISIS. In the video, an Islamist jihadi group calling itself Madina At-Tawheed Wau Mujahedeen ("The City Of Monotheism And Holy Worriers," MTM), but which was composed of ADF fighters, urged people to join them in the fighting there. The video also featured an Arabic-speaking fighter calling on people living in Dar Al-Kufr ("The Abode Of Unbelief"), to migrate to Dar Al-Jihad ("The Abode Of Jihad"), before saying: "This is Dar Al-Islam... I swear to Allah that this is Dar Al-Islam of the Islamic State in Central Africa." He concluded by urging people to migrate to the DRC and join them and that "here we are emigrants and helpers fighting in the path of Allah."

Other studies have suggested that the ADF had links with the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Shabab, which was helping it organize attacks.[16] This as well as the ADF's serving as ISCAP in the DRC contradicts UN Group of Experts reports on the African country, including its latest June 2020 report,[17] which suggested that there is no evidence of direct links either between the ADF and Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia Al-Shabab or between the ADF and ISIS.

The Ugandan-led DRC-based Islamist militant group ADF had been founded in 1995 in the DRC by members of the Uganda Muslim Freedom Fighters (UMFF) to oust the Ugandan government and replace it with Islamic rule. The ADF, which operates mainly in the North Kivu region near the Ruwenzori mountainous area close to the Ugandan border, includes former anti-Ugandan government Muslim militants led by Jamil Mukulu, a Saudi-educated and Tablighi Jamaat-influenced Ugandan convert to Islam.[18] Following a Ugandan army raid on their camps in western Uganda, many ADF members escaped into the DRC where they found refuge in the Beni area and other eastern parts of the DRC.

With the help of Sudan, the ADF was officially formed and joined forces with the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU), a DRC-based armed Ugandan movement that had sought the autonomy of the Ruwenzori area near the DRC. Some unconfirmed media reports suggested that Mukulu received extensive training in Sudan and Afghanistan and had met with late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden when he lived in Sudan. Despite continued military operations by the Congolese army and UN forces in the DRC, the ADF continued to be resilient and developed ties with local Congolese. It was also backed by both the Congolese and Sudanese governments.[19]

Under Mukulu's leadership, the ADF was blamed for several deadly attacks in eastern DRC and Uganda. In April 2015, Mukulu was arrested in Tanzania and was later extradited to Uganda, where he currently awaits trial.[20] Since Mukulu's arrest, the group has been led by Musa Seka Baluku whom the State Department listed as a specially designated global terrorist on March 10, 2021.[21]


ADF leader Jamil Mukulu is escorted by prison wardens to a magistrate's court to challenge extradition proceedings against him in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in May 2015 (photo by AP).

In August 2020, ISIS's central media released several photos of its fighters in various provinces celebrating Eid Al-Adha. In one of the photos, ADF leader Musa Baluku, though not identified by ISIS's central media, was seen preaching to ADF fighters on the holiday. This is the first clear photo to be published of the commander, reflecting ISIS's validation of Baluku's leadership of the ISCAP wing in the DRC.

ISCAP's DRC commander Baluku reportedly said in a speech in late 2020: "There is no ADF anymore... ADF ceased to exist a long time ago." He also pledged allegiance to the new ISIS leader, adding: "Currently, we are a province, the Central Africa Province that is one province among the numerous provinces that make up the Islamic State that is under the Caliph and leader of all Muslims... Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Quraishi."[22]


A photo published by ISIS central media on August 2, 2020, shows ISCAP commander Musa Baluku celebrating Eid Al-Adha with the "Caliphate soldiers."

ISCAP's Mozambican Wing

Shortly after its sudden emergence in the DRC, ISCAP declared in June 2019 the presence of its second component in Cabo Delgado, which is the only Muslim-majority province of Mozambique, a country which has an overall Muslim population of about 18 percent. Since that date, ISIS's central media apparatus continued to release claims of attacks carried out by ISCAP's Mozambican wing under the ISCAP name. The government initially attributed the violence to local jobless "criminals"[23] but soon changed its explanation, saying it was terrorist groups trying to move into Mozambique.[24]

ISCAP traces its roots in Mozambique to a group locally known as Al-Shabab, which has no known links to the Somali Al-Qaeda-affiliated group of the same name. Al-Shabab, also known locally as Ansar Al-Sunnah and ASWJ, rejected secularism and brought Salafi ideology and a radical new form of Islam into Cabo Delgado. Between 2010 and 2015, Mozambican Al-Shabab clerics were trained ideologically by radical Tanzanian preachers,[25] enabling them to be connected with like-minded Muslims in neighboring countries and laying the groundwork for the creation of Mozambique's current wing. These preachers were mostly Tanzanian, but a few were reportedly Kenyan, Ugandan, Somali, and Congolese. [26]

It appears that since as early as 2015, Al-Shabab has been preparing for militant action, and running training camps in some of their mosques. However, most Cabo Delgado residents rejected their activities and reported them to the Mozambican authorities, which launched a campaign in May 2017 imprisoning large numbers of young people suspected of affiliation with the group. In response, the militant Islamist group reacted by attacking security forces, first in August and more aggressively in October 2017 when they attacked the police station and other government buildings in Mocimboa de Praia, killing 17.

While Al-Shabab's attacks began in 2017, they remained limited to Cabo Delgado. It was not until January 2018 that the group publicly declared its goal to overthrow the Mozambican government and establish an "Islamic government, not a government of unbelievers," according to a video[27] that circulated online featuring several masked fighters. In the video, a militant spoke of Islam and the need for an Islamic government while citing alleged abuses by the Mozambican army and complaining about the unfairness of the government. Similar to the emergence of jihadi groups in Mali, Nigeria, and Iraq, Al-Shabab exploited and grew out of local people's grievances at feeling marginalized by their own government.

Starting in mid-2018, the group remarkably stepped up its operations in Cabo Delgado's Mocimboa de Praia, Macomia, and Palma areas along the border with Tanzania. Its militants looted villages, destroyed houses, and killed civilians, mainly Christians. In 2019, the group expanded into new towns and districts, establishing a new hub for recruiting militants and seizing more weapons.

The relationship between Al-Shabab and ISCAP dates back to April 2018, when almost 90 Al-Shabab fighters reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and infiltrated northern Mozambique through the islands of Zanzibar and Tanzania. Although ISCAP fighters in Mozambique released photos showing their pledge of allegiance to ISIS in 2018,[28] it was not until June 2019 that the Mozambican wing of ISCAP was officially recognized under the banner of ISCAP, along with its Congolese component.[29] However, the State Department mistakenly stated in its March 10, 2021 release that the Mozambican ISCAP wing "was acknowledged by ISIS-Core as an affiliate in August 2019."[30]

In early June 2019, ISIS claimed its first ever attack in the village of Mitobi, which is in the district of Mocimboa da Praia, in Cabo Delgado province, officially designating Mozambique as part of its Central Africa Province.[31] From then on, ISIS continued to claim Al-Shabab's attacks under the name of its new African province. In 2020, this Mozambican ISCAP wing quickly expanded and demonstrated its ability to launch sophisticated attacks that let it seize large swathes of territory in Cabo Delgado, including the August 2020 seizure of the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia.

ISCAP's Mozambican wing is currently led by Al-Shabab leader Abu Yasir Hassan, a Tanzanian national, whom the State Department designated as a global terrorist in March 2021.[32] However, ISIS central media have not published a photo of him.

Relations Between ISCAP's Two Wings Remain Unclear

Despite ISIS's central media apparatus' distracting efforts to depict ISCAP's two wings as one unified "province," the Congolese and Mozambican groups have different origins and the connection and coordination between them remains unclear.

Thus, ISCAP's two components remains functionally separate and distinct, similar to the ISWAP branch, which incorporates both the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in the Sahel region and ISWAP in the Lake Chad Basin.

ISIS's Official Recognition Of ISCAP As Province

As discussed earlier, despite the presence of ISCAP fighters in the DRC and Mozambique, it was not until April 2019 that ISIS officially recognized it as a new province in Africa. The first sign of ISIS central leadership's official recognition of the ISCAP appeared in the unique April 29, 2019 video titled "In The Hospitality Of The Emir Of Believers,"[33] which featured the late ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

This was Al-Baghdadi's first public appearance since he declared the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate. In the video, Al-Baghdadi praised the anti-Christian Easter attacks in Sri Lanka and welcomed the pledge of allegiance from African fighters from Burkina Faso and Mali. He also was seen skimming monthly reports on the activities of ISIS branches worldwide, including one labeled "Central Africa Province" or ISCAP.


Screenshots from the video released by ISIS media outlet Al-Furqan on April 29, 2019 feature Al-Baghdadi, in his first video appearance for five years, handling reports of some global affiliates, including one titled "Wilayat Wasat Ifriqiyah," Arabic for Central Africa Province.

It is likely that ISCAP had satisfied ISIS's hard-to-meet criteria to be officially recognized as one of its African provinces, involving adherence to ISIS methodology and reaching a certain level of power. ISCAP met these two benchmarks by launching attacks against "crusader" armed forces and Christians and seizing territorial control in both the DRC and Mozambique.

It should be noted that the first known photo of ISCAP fighters appeared in Issue 179 of ISIS weekly Al-Naba', released on April 25, 2019, showing a group of around 15 masked fighters joining hands, a common practice by ISIS fighters when they pledge allegiance to the ISIS leader.

The photo was included in a report detailing ISCAP's third attack, which took place on April 20, 2019, in the DRC. According to the Al-Naba' report, ISIS fighters armed with machine guns killed two soldiers and wounded a third in an attack on a military position in village, which it called Kaliangoki, near the city of Butembo in the east of the DRC. ISIS reportedly killed another Congolese soldier in a separate incident. The report may have misspelled the name of the village of Kalengehya, which is located about seven miles east of Butembo.


A group of mujahideen from the Central Africa Province.

On May 5, 2019, ISCAP published[34] photos of rifles, ammunition, communication devices, clothing, and uniforms that the group's fighters had captured in the abovementioned attack on the Congolese army in Kalengehya village.


Photos, published on the official ISIS Telegram channel Nashir News, showing rifles and rifle magazines, communication devices, and documents that ISCAP fighters captured in the April 20, 2019 attack.

On July 24, 2019, ISCAP released a video featuring groups of fighters in the DRC and Mozambique renewing the oath of fealty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.[35] The video, titled "And The [Best] Outcome Is For The Righteous" (Quran 7:128) and posted on the Telegram channels of the ISIS-affiliated Nashir News, was part of a campaign under the same name to boost ISIS fighters' morale and resolve following the group's significant losses in Iraq and Syria.

It showed a masked man identified as Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman addressing a group of fighters in the Swahili language, saying: "Our brothers in Islam, we are the mujahideen in central Africa... Multiple eras have passed while Muslims are divided and each [Muslim] devotes his loyalty to his party and each group is content with what it has and each claims to be right. The reality, however, is that the condition [of being fragmented] has not benefitted Islam or Muslims at all. In fact, the unbelievers have doubled our hardship and misery."

After condemning Muslims' weakness, saying it is a result of them being fragmented "while the unbelievers are united to wage war on them," Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman stressed that after the declaration of the Caliphate, the mujahideen in Central Africa "realized that it is important that Muslims are united behind one imam." He then called on the fighters to recite the oath of fealty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as the video showed footage of distinct groups of ISIS fighters in both the DRC and Mozambique.


ISCAP fighters in the DRC


ISCAP fighters in Mozambique

Following the October 2019 killing of Al-Baghdadi in Syria, Issue 207 of Al-Naba', released in November 2019, published a pictorial report showing ISIS fighters in various provinces pledging allegiance to the newly announced leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi. The report included a photo of ISCAP fighters. However, no photo was released from ISIS's official media outlets as was the case with other worldwide branches.


ISCAP fighters (bottom right) pledge allegiance to new ISIS leader Al-Qurashi published in Issue 207 of Al-Naba'.

ISCAP's official recognition has let the new branch play a prominent role among African ISIS affiliates, namely in recruiting fighters and increasing local legitimacy among sympathizers. ISCAP's focus on Christians aligns perfectly with the broad anti-Christian incitement ISIS uses for expansion.

As ISCAP attacked with increasing frequency, mainly in the DRC and Mozambique, ISIS's central media started a year after its formation in April 2020 to give detailed information on the branch's attacks. In an infographic published in Issue 228 of Al-Naba' weekly on April 2, 2020, ISIS claimed 13 attacks that killed and wounded 148 people in the DRC and Mozambique between late January and late March 2020.

The infographic, titled "Harvest Of The Caliphate Soldiers In Central Africa," showed an ISIS fighter holding a severed head. According to the figures presented, the attacks in Mozambique include two assassinations, three large-scale attacks, and one clash that killed and wounded 89 people, while attacks in Congo include one large-scale attack, three assassinations, two ambushes, and one clash that killed and wounded 59.

The infographic, which lists four key attacks, also claimed that nine vehicles were destroyed or seized, and that three houses and eight barracks were burned in these attacks.

In a second infographic highlighting ISCAP's expansion into a third country, ISCAP claimed 118 attacks carried out in the DRC, Mozambique, and Tanzania between October 2019 and October 2020 that killed and wounded more than 941 people. The infographic, which was published in Issue 254 of Al-Naba' weekly on October 1, 2020, included the same photo of a fighter holding a severed head used in the first infographic.

According to the figures presented, the attacks in the DRC, Mozambique, and Tanzania killed and wounded 909 "Crusaders," including Christians, 23 "apostates," and nine officers. The infographic, which listed three key attacks, also claimed that 32 military vehicles were destroyed or seized, 18 pickup vehicles were seized, and that 23 barracks and 27 houses were burned in the attacks.

These attacks were initially characterized by simple and sporadic attacks on military targets, but it became evident, as indicated in the second infographic, that slaughtering Christians was an integral and regular tactic of ISCAP's campaign to remain and expand in Central and Eastern Africa.

ISCAP Growing Deadlier

Stemming from ISIS's persistent efforts to grow its presence throughout Africa, ISCAP has over the past two years clearly demonstrated the significant threat it poses in eastern, central, and southern Africa. The following figures, which were compiled from weekly reports in ISIS's Al-Naba', show how ISCAP is growing deadlier.

Between April 18, 2019, and the end of the year, ISIS claimed under the ISCAP name 56 attacks targeting Congolese and Mozambican forces that resulted in 304 casualties in the DRC and Mozambique.

Throughout 2020, ISCAP claimed 85 attacks on Congolese and Mozambican military forces and Christians that killed and wounded 619 people. In October 2020, ISCAP formally expanded, claiming its first cross-border attack into neighboring Tanzania.  

Since the beginning of 2021 until March 25, ISCAP claimed 21 attacks that killed or wounded 118 people, suggesting that the African affiliate is increasing the intensity of its operations in this region.

ISCAP has also adopted guerilla warfare tactics, which are used in other ISIS provinces such as ISWAP and Sinai Province, following the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate. This includes setting up ambushes, carrying out hit-and-run attacks, and temporary control small villages. More recently, the African branch has demonstrated its ability to seize towns and has directly threatened the economic future of the DRC and Mozambique.

A factor that accelerates ISCAP's lethal presence is the absence of an Al-Qaeda affiliate in both the DRC and Mozambique. The weakness and ineffectiveness of Mozambican and Congolese military campaigns has also let ISCAP launch more sophisticated attacks.

For instance, the ISCAP Mozambican wing was able to capture districts and towns in Cabo Delgado after well-prepared attacks that lasted for several days. On April 8, 2020, ISIS's released via its media arm A'maq News Agency a short video[36] claiming that on April 7, ISCAP fighters controlled the district of Muidumbe in Cabo Delgado in northeastern Mozambique after clashes with Mozambican soldiers. The video showed several armed ISIS fighters roaming among small buildings, some shouting: "Allah Akbar [Allah is greater]." Columns of smoke rise in the background of the video.


Mozambican ISCAP fighters roam among small buildings inside the district of Muidumbe in Cabo Delgado (A'maq News Agency, April 8, 2020).

Even more significant is ISCAP's August 2020 attack in which the Mozambican wing was able to capture the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia.[37] Issue 249 of Al-Naba' weekly, released on August 27, 2020, featured a report on the organization's takeover of the port town of Mocimba da Praia in Mozambique. The report, which is the first comprehensive ISIS account of the operation, had photos of ISCAP fighters in the town after its takeover.

Quoting a "special source," Al-Naba' report stated that the offensive began on August 6 with a raid on two bases of the Mozambican army in the town, followed by an attack on a third base on August 7. According to the source, "the mujahideen's attack continued until on Tuesday [August 11] they gained control of the town and its critical port and the surrounding villages."

He added that the mujahideen set fire to the port facilities, the army bases, and the homes of Christians in the town and villages. The sources noted that they had captured not only weapons and ammunition but also large sums of money and a military vessel.


Photos of ISCAP fighters inside the port of Mocimboa da Praia published in Issue 249 of Al-Naba'.

Another major attack that brought more media attention to the DRC wing of ISCAP was the October 20, 2020 jailbreak at Kangbayi central prison in the Beni area. The jailbreak was part of an ISIS campaign dubbed "Answer The Call."[38] According to a statement released by ISIS central media, ISCAP fighters freed "hundreds of Muslims" from the prison, as part of a new campaign that was an answer to the October 18 call of the organization's spokesman, Abu Hamzah Al-Qurashi, urging members worldwide to step up attacks, particularly targeting prisons to free imprisoned ISIS members.[39]


Issue 257 of Al-Naba' (October 22, 2020)

In a bloody turn in November 2020, militants reportedly linked to the ISCAP carried out a gruesome attack on Muatide village in the mainly Muslim Cabo Delgado province, where they beheaded more than 50 people.[40] ISCAP fighters reportedly caught fleeing villagers and took them to the local football field where they were beheaded and dismembered in a massacre that lasted for three days.

Another major and well-planned attack was carried out on March 24, 2021, when ISCAP claimed the capture of the town of Palma. Five days later, ISCAP officially claimed on March 29 the capture of the town of Palma in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado, killing more than 55 soldiers and Christians, including foreign nationals.[41]

In a statement by ISIS's official media arm A'maq News Agency, ISIS cited an ISCAP "military source" as saying that the large-scale three-day-long attack was launched on March 24 on the "economic" coastal town of Palma in Cabo Delgado near the border with Tanzania and involved in fighting Mozambican forces inside the town using various types of weapons. The same source added that the attack was carried out from various sides and resulted in the death of 55 Mozambican soldiers and Christians, including "foreign contractors," noting that "the Islamic State fighters fully controlled the town and everything in it, including headquarters, banks, companies, and commercial factories belonging to the military and government after the fleeing of the Mozambican forces from it."


A'maq Agency's statement on the Palma attack (March 29, 2021)

During the attacks, ISCAP fighters slaughtered people, locals and expatriates, leaving decapitated bodies strewn around the streets. The attack disrupted large projects to develop Mozambique's natural gas reserves, and the French energy giant Total has announced postponing the restart of its work on a $20 billion liquefied natural gas project in the area as a result, which it had halted in January 2021 over security concerns.[42]

As is clear in these attacks, this African branch appears to have adopted the same strategy embraced by other African affiliates namely attacking Christians, their villages, and churches in line with the global organization's anti-Christian incitement promoted by its central and auxiliary media.

Anti-Christian Incitement

While ISIS's targeting of Christians is not new, the intensity of its attacks in the DRC, Mozambique, and later in Tanzania has coincided with the organization's defeats in other parts in the middle east, mainly in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt's Sinai. Consequently, the coverage of ISIS's central media sought to underscore the organization's objective of "remaining and expanding" to establish its Caliphate by focusing on the victories against the "Crusader" armies and the "belligerent" Christians who may support them.

ISIS's persecution and slaughter of Christians remains a high priority on the group's agenda and dogma. In a poster titled "Why We Fight?" published on Issue 268 of its Al-Naba' weekly on January 7, 2021, ISIS listed eight motives behind its jihad. Justifying what it called "waging jihad for the sake of Allah," ISIS presented its top motive as "obeying Allah and following His commands," citing the following saying of Muhammad: "I have been commanded (by Allah) to fight people until they testify that there is no true god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform prayer and pay almsgiving."


A poster in Issue 268 of Al-Naba', released January 7, 2021, lists eight reasons for ISIS's jihad.

ISIS's campaign against Christians is a key component of the organization's strategy and regular tactics. To justify its attacks on them, ISIS refers to Christians as "unbelievers" and "worshippers of the cross" and cites their supposed support of the military and their fight against Muslims and Islam as pretexts for attacking them. The intensity and timing of these attacks, which tend to coincide with Christian feasts and celebrations such as Christmas, are timed to get the maximum attention.

Even before the formation of ISCAP, ISIS threatened Christians everywhere following some of its bloody attacks on Egyptian Coptic Christians and their churches. In an article published in Issue 155 of Al-Naba'[43] threatening to continue targeting Christians everywhere, ISIS stated: "And the Caliphate soldiers continue on the path on which they started in Iraq, fulfilling their promises to target Christians in Egypt and elsewhere [as a form of] obedience to Allah and jihad for His sake. And the burdensome bill remains open, unsealed until they [Christians] believe in Allah alone or pay the jizya to Muslims in humiliation; otherwise, the swords shall not be lifted from their necks, and the detachments of the mujahideen will not stop to snatch their souls and scatter their body parts on every level."

ISCAP's emphasis on targeting Christians in the DRC, Mozambique, and Tanzania is significant and seeks to achieve four objectives: First, establishing Islamic rule in Africa and eliminating what ISIS calls all forms of polytheism and unbelief.

Second, recruiting disenfranchised Muslims and building local support where its rival Al-Qaeda is not present. In various countries where Al-Qaeda is present, ISIS's efforts to recruit among Muslims, especially youths, face serious challenges. In places like Somalia, West Africa's Sahel region, Afghanistan, and Yemen, internecine fighting has mostly characterized relations between ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Ideological differences between ISIS and Al-Qaeda[44] contributed to the all-out confrontation between the two groups in various places since the two sides engage in fierce competition to win the hearts and minds of young Muslims with each presenting itself as a group that fulfills the true Islamic practice. Al-Qaeda boasted about its model of governance, which involved flexibility on the implementation of shari'a laws and punishments,[45] while ISIS presented itself as the only true defender of Islam and enforcer of Allah's shari'a on earth[46] and condemned claims by jihadi groups, like Al-Qaeda, that the implementation of Islamic shari'a can be postponed until the Muslim ummah is united and has gained power.[47]

Third, punishing local Christian communities for collaborating with their "enemies," namely anti-ISIS governments and militaries and their "Crusader" Western backers as well as local groups that cooperate and support them. Similar to its execution of Sunni collaborators with the Iraqi government, ISIS's attacks on "Crusader" and "belligerent" Christians in the DRC, Mozambique, and Tanzania aim to disrupt Christians' support for their governments. ISIS views Christians' support for their governments and militaries as a threat to its presence and expansion, as it undercuts its efforts to recruit young Muslims, control a lot of territory, and thus present itself as winning despite setbacks and defeats elsewhere, and general achieve its messaging aims.

Fourth, posing a threat to neighboring countries like Tanzania and South Africa should they intervene militarily to engage in the war against ISIS fighters.

Pro-ISIS media outlets showed consistency in covering the attacks launched by the two African branches of ISWAP and ISCAP. For example, in March 2021, pro-ISIS media outlet Al-Murhafat Foundation released a poster titled "Difficult Times For Christians" in which it celebrated the recent increasing attacks carried out ISWAP and ISCAP against Christians in Nigeria and the DRC. The poster highlighted two attacks against Christians in the DRC: the first targeting a Christian village in Ituri province in northeastern DRC on February 22, 2021, killing four and torching 10 houses belonging to Christians, and the second targeting a Christian town in Irumu that resulted in the killing of seven soldiers and local militiamen.

In March 2021, a pro-ISIS Telegram channel called "Mujrayat Al-Ahdath [Course Of Events] 2021," which covers breaking news about attacks by various ISIS branches, celebrated the fleeing of "thousands" of Congolese Christians from their villages in Ituri to Beni due to ISIS fighters' heightened attacks that it said are taking place "on an almost daily basis." The channel shared photos allegedly showing Christians fleeing from villages and towns and scornfully wondered using the following hashtag: "#Where_to_flee?!!"

Moreover, pro-ISIS media outlets published several posters celebrating the dayslong attack and alleged capture of Mozambique's strategic town of Palma. The posters viewed the attack a new page in the chapter of "great victories" needed for the group's expansion in Africa and the restoration of the ISIS caliphate after killing 50 Christians "including Westerners."[48]

ISIS's campaign against Christians also included targeting humanitarian and aid organizations operating in Africa under the pretext of proselytizing Christianity. In an editorial, titled "No Immunity For Organizations That Wage War On The Religion Of Islam,"[49] published in August 2020 in its weekly, Al-Naba', ISIS justified its ruthless execution of aid workers in Africa, mainly Nigeria, who had not taken part in any military activities and called on Muslims to ban aid organizations from operating in "Muslim countries." ISIS accused such organizations of waging war on Muslims, providing support to armies that fight Muslims, and promoting "ideologies of unbelief" including secularism, democracy, and socialism.

"In addition to the fact that many organizations wage war against Muslims in many forms and provide support to armies and adversaries who are hostile toward Muslims, these organizations are part of the war [against Muslims] even if their employees do not carry weapons or participate in battles," it stated.  It then accused aid organizations of being "major coverups, used by the spies of the crusaders who work in Muslim countries in order to obscure the true nature of their activities, work, and movements." It also accused Western aid organizations of proselytizing Christianity as part of their mission and of "providing aid and services as a way to convert people to Christianity and bring them closer to the polytheistic religion."

Targeting Christians In The DRC

It is estimated that almost 98 percent of the DRC's 5.2 million people are Christian.[50] The number of Muslims, who are predominantly Sunnis, varies. Muslims are estimated to be approximately 2 percent, a figure that includes non-Congolese. The DRC also hosts more than 19,800 refugees from the Central African Republic, approximately 15 percent of whom are Muslim, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Despite its April 2019 emergence, it was not until May 2020 that ISCAP began its public military campaign targeting Christians.

In 2020 alone, ISCAP claimed seven attacks targeting Congolese Christians, mainly concentrated in Beni and Butembo in the northern part of the country.[51]

In all these attacks, Congolese Christians were deemed in ISCAP's claims of attacks as "unbelievers" and "belligerent" – terms that ISIS uses to legitimize its anti-Christian campaign in Africa in particular.

On May 14, 2020, Issue 234 of Al-Naba' weekly reported that ISCAP fighters killed ten Christians in a May 23 attack in the Eringeti area.[52]


Issue 234 Al-Naba' (May 14, 2021)

Issue 235 of Al-Naba', released a week later on May 21, reported that ISCAP fighters killed 30 Christians in a May 17 attack on "gatherings of belligerent Christians" in three Christian villages in Beni. The attack was part of ISIS's "Raid of Attrition" campaign that includes simultaneous attacks in the organization's various "provinces."


Issue 235 of Al-Naba' (May 21, 2020)

ISCAP later claimed that its fighters had killed 11 Christians in a June 3 attack on a Christian village in the Ruwenzori mountainous area along the Uganda-Congo border. On June 5, ISCAP claimed the killing of seven Christians in the Loselose village in Beni.[53]

On October 28, ISCAP fighters killed 19 Christians and torched 45 houses in a Christian village in Beni. ISCAP carried out an attack on October 30 that killed 21 Christian "militiamen" in a village in Butembo city in northeastern DRC. According to the claim, ISCAP fighters torched the houses of Christian residents and a church before withdrawing from the village.[54]

As is the case in West Africa,[55] ISIS generally views both Christian and UN organizations operating in the DRC and Mozambique as legitimate targets, accusing them of aiding their governments and promoting Christianity in Africa. On June 23, ISCAP claimed responsibility for a June 22 attack on the "Crusader" United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) peacekeeping forces in the city of Beni, killing five.[56]

ISCAP, however, appears to have significantly intensified its attacks on Christians in 2021. By March 25, 2021, the African branch had claimed, since January 1, six attacks against Christians mostly in the northeast of the DRC, an area that has recently witnessed an increase in ISCAP activity, particularly targeting the Christian community, signaling an escalation in the ISCAP's campaign against Christians in the Central African country.

In February 2021, ISCAP began escalation of its attacks against Christians. Issue 274 of Al-Naba', released on February 18, 2021, detailed ISCAP's first attack on Christians in the new year when its fighters attacked on February 15 the Christian village of Indaliya in DRC's northeastern Ituri Province. According to an Al-Naba' report, at least three Congolese soldiers and several others were wounded, while the rest fled. The report also claimed that ISCAP fighters then took control of the village, killing 13 of its Christian residents and burning down a local church before leaving with weapons and ammunition seized from fleeing army forces. The report also detailed another attack on a "gathering of Christians" on February 16 in the center of the town of Oicha in north Kivu province, killing four Christians and wounding others.


Issue 274 of Al-Naba' (February 18, 2021)

On February 23, 2021, ISCAP carried out three attacks.[57] In one of the attacks, its fighters ambushed a Congolese army vehicle in a village near the town of Beni in the northeast of the DRC, destroying the vehicle and killing those on board. In the second attack, ISCAP attacked a group of Christians with automatic weapons in the area around Beni, killing "at least five" without sustaining any casualties. ISCAP's third attack involved a raid on a Christian village in Ituri Province, burning houses and taking 11 Christians captive. According to an Al-Naba' report, the attack on Christians was a response to the Congolese army's new military campaign in the Ruwenzori mountainous area to drive out ISCAP fighters after its "failed" campaign which was launched more than a year ago to eradicate them from Beni and its surrounding areas.


Issue 275 of Al-Naba'(February 25, 2021)

Reports of several anti-Christian attacks were published in Issue 276 of Al-Naba', released on March 4, 2021. According to the weekly, ISCAP claimed responsibility for a February 26, 2021 ambush on "a vehicle belonging to unbeliever Christians" on the road between Uganda and the DRC (the Beni-Kasindi road), saying that the attackers used heavy weapons, torching the vehicle and killing the passengers. A'maq Agency also published a photo of two Christian civilians, asserting that they were killed in the ambush on the Beni-Kasindi road.[58]


A photo released by A'maq News Agency of two Christians killed in an ambush by ISCAP on the Beni-Kasindi road.

Al-Naba' Issue 276 also reported a February 27 attack on a Christian village in the Ituri region, killing four soldiers after clashes with Congolese forces there. According to the report, ISCAP carried out another attack on March 2 in the in Irumu area of the Christian village of Mambelenga, where they fought the Congolese army and local militias, killing seven.


Issue 276 of Al-Naba' (March 4, 2021)


A photo showing ISCAP fighters inside the Christian village of Mambelenga in Irumu (Issue 276 of Al-Naba')

ISCAP's Potential Involvement In Italian Ambassador Killing

A major development occurred on February 22, when Luca Attanasio, the Italian Ambassador to the DRC, was killed along with an Italian national and a Congolese driver in an attempted kidnapping north of the town of Goma in the east of the DRC. Attanasio was travelling with a UN convoy from Goma, Congo's eastern regional capital, to visit a World Food Program school project in Rutshuru.

To date, there has been no official claim of responsibility for the attack. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as FDLR, denied any role in the "heinous" attack.[59]

However, ISIS supporters have speculated that ISCAP may be responsible and are thus expecting it to make an official announcement to that effect.[60] These speculations are consistent with ISIS's position on targeting "Crusader" humanitarian aid organizations in Africa. If such speculations are accurate, it is likely that ISCAP refrained from publicly claiming the attack because it could provoke a strong retaliation from Italy.


A post by pro-ISIS Telegram channel called "Ехрʟогег" celebrating a report from an official Italian news agency report about Attanasio's death in an attack on a UN convoy. Text reads: "The news is confirmed in their media outlets, and we await the glad tidings" from ISIS's official outlet, i.e., a statement claiming responsibility for the attack.

Targeting Christians In Mozambique

Mozambique is a Christian-majority country. One fifth of the country's 27.92 million people are estimated to be Muslim, mostly concentrated in the northern part of the country.[61] In the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province that borders Tanzania, Muslims constitute more than 75 percent of the population in six of the province's 17 districts.

ISCAP's Mozambican wing launched its first attack on Christians on August 2, 2019, when its fighters burned the houses of Christians in the village of Mecamula in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado near the border with Tanzania.[62] A brief report about the attack was included in Issue 194 of Al-Naba', released on August 8, 2019, which stated that the attack was part of ISIS's "Raid of Attrition" campaign and resulted in material damage.


Issue 194 of Al-Naba' (August 9, 2019)

ISCAP's second attack on Christians in the first half of August 2019 took place on August 12, when it claimed an August 11 attack on a village "belonging to the Crusaders" in the area of Macomia in Cabo Delgado.[63]

In the first week of September 2019, Pope Francis, the most prominent Christian leader in the world, visited Mozambique, where he held mass for 80,000 people in the Zimpeto National Stadium, in the capital Maputo.[64] Francis was the first pope to visit Mozambique since John Paul II in 1988. ISCAP later responded to the three-day papal visit by claiming an attack on "Crusader Christians" in Cabo Delgado. On September 24, 2019, the ISCAP Mozambican wing attacked a Mozambican military outpost, killing and wounding several soldiers and burning down the houses of some Christians in the Mocimboa da Praia district of the city of Mbau in Cabo Delgado.[65]

In all its claims, ISCAP refers to the Mozambican army as "Crusaders" which is the same derogatory term the group uses to describe the Russian forces based in Mozambique. In the past two years, Mozambique sought the help of private military contractors from South Africa and Russia to put an end to various jihadi groups operating in the country.

Al-Naba' weekly, which was released on November 21, 2019, reported in Issue 209 that on November 17, 2019, ISCAP fighters in Mozambique had attacked two military barracks belonging to the "Crusader" Mozambican army and the "Crusader" Russian forces in two villages in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado, killing six and wounding others.[66] Al-Naba' also published a photo of several weapons seized from the Mozambican army.


Issue 209 of Al-Naba (November 21, 2019)

This is not the first time ISCAP has claimed responsibility for an attack on Russian forces in Mozambique. On October 17, 2019, Al-Naba' weekly reported that on October 13, ISCAP repelled a joint attack on the group's outposts by soldiers from the "Crusader" Russian and Mozambican armies in the village of Mbau, in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique.[67] According to the Al-Naba' report, the clashes resulted in the deaths of several soldiers from the attacking armies, many injuries to them, and the capture of one of the soldiers.


Issue 204 of Al-Naba (October 17, 2019)

In 2020, ISCAP's Mozambican wing claimed only one attack during the month of Ramadan. On May 11, 2020, it claimed to have torched two Mozambican barracks and Christian houses in a village in Cabo Delgado. This attack coincided with the killing of 10 Christians in an attack in the DRC.


Issue 234 of Al-Naba' (May 14, 2020)

After a long lull, ISCAP launched one of the most serious attacks against the Mozambican military and Christians on March 24, 2021. ISCAP officially claimed on March 29 the capture of the town of Palma in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado, killing more than 55 soldiers and Christians, including foreign nationals.[68] This was the first major large-scale attack by ISCAP in Mozambique since November 2020.


A photo released by A'maq Agency allegedly showing ISCAP Mozambican fighters inside the town of Palma after capturing it.

ISCAP Expands Into Tanzania, Prioritizes Attacks On Christians

ISCAP's first cross-border activity was made public in October 2020, when it claimed an attack on October 14 targeting Tanzanian forces in the village of Kitaya in Tanzania's Mtwara region, home to almost 100,000 people.

In an October 15, 2020 statement, ISCAP claimed responsibility for an attack on a barracks belonging to the "Crusader" Tanzanian army in a village in the Mtwara area, causing several casualties and burning a tank. The claim stated that ISCAP fighters had seized various types of weapons and ammunition.

The attack in Tanzania is ISIS's first operation in Tanzania to be placed under the banner of ISCAP, officially making it the third country added to the African branch.[69] Once again, ISCAP described the Tanzanian army as "crusader" – a term used by the group to validate its attacks against military and security personnel.


A statement released on October 15, 2020 by ISCAP claiming its first attack in Tanzania.

The attack was also featured in Issue 257 of Al-Naba', released on October 22, 2020, which coincided with the freeing of "hundreds" of ISCAP fighters from the Congolese Kangbayi central prison in the Beni area.


Issue 257 of Al-Naba'.

It should be noted that Al-Naba' 251, released on September 10, 2020, reported that ISCAP had killed and wounded 20 Tanzanian soldiers in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado region when its fighters were repelling a September 5 joint attack in Mocimboa da Praia carried out by the Mozambican and Tanzanian forces. Al-Naba' also published documents showing the identities of two Tanzanian soldiers.

Issue 251 of Al-Naba' (September 10, 2020)

Targeting Christians In Tanzania

Christians in Tanzania constitute approximately 63 percent of the country's population, while 34 percent are Muslims, and 3 percent belong to other religious groups, according to Pew Forum Research estimates.[70] Zanzibar has 1.3 million residents, of whom 99 percent are Muslim, according to a U.S. government estimate.[71]

After its first attack in Tanzania in October 2020, ISCAP focused on Christians living there as it seeks to expand in the East African country. The Mozambican wing of ISCAP is probably behind these cross-border attacks in Tanzania since most of the attacks concentrated in the Mtwara region.   

In a report detailing attacks on Christians in the DRC and Tanzania, Issue 259 of Al-Naba', released on November 5, 2020, said that ISCAP expanded its operations against Christians to include the "unbeliever" Christians inside the "Crusader" Tanzania. According to the report, ISCAP fighters burned on October 29 three Christian villages in the Mtwara region along the Mozambican border. Al-Naba' stated that the attack caused considerable material damage to Christians' houses and properties.


Issue 259 of Al-Naba' (November 5, 2020).

ISCAP Threatens To Take Action In South Africa

ISCAP's intense activity in Mozambique makes the border with South Africa, which is 81 percent Christian,[72] porous and complicates counter-jihad efforts in the country. The Mozambique branch raises security concerns for South Africa; it has been reported that at least 12 South Africans were involved in the latest ISCAP's large-scale attack on the town of Palma.[73] There have been South African nationals who have reportedly traveled to the Middle East.[74]

ISIS also threatened to expand into South Africa if the country got involved in the war against ISIS in Mozambique. In an editorial in Al-Naba' weekly on July 2, 2020 warning the Western "Crusaders" that their investments in Mozambique were in danger and threatening to open a "fighting front" in South Africa if it gets involved militarily in the fight against ISIS in Mozambique.[75] ISIS acknowledged South Africa's reluctance to take part in the fighting in Mozambique but warned it would open a new front in South Africa if it decided otherwise. In the editorial, titled "The Crusaders Are Risking Their Investments In Mozambique," ISIS warned that the current battles in Mozambique are confined to areas close to gas fields, where foreign companies are investing "billions of dollars."

Al-Naba' editorial (July 2, 2020)

ISCAP Is Poised For Expansion In 2021

ISCAP has demonstrated in both the DRC and in Mozambique that it is one of ISIS's most successful "provinces" and is used by the global organization to expand its presence and activities in Africa. To that end, ISCAP has focused on targeting Christian civilians to expand in the central, eastern, and southern part of the continent. The current trajectory of ISCAP's attacks against Christians suggests that the African branch is poised for expansion in 2021.

The absence of ISIS's rival group Al-Qaeda coupled with the lack of any effective counterterrorism strategy from African governments and the international community to counter it has allowed ISCAP to pose a significant regional threat. They also let the African branch carry out sophisticated attacks, such as capturing territory, and be on track to have a solid and lasting presence in both northern Mozambique and northern DRC.

Furthermore, ISCAP is now threatening neighboring countries as indicated in ISIS's recent threats. The lack of a serious counter strike will ultimately contribute to significant potential for ISCAP's expansion into neighboring countries, particularly Christian-majority countries, Tanzania and South Africa.

 

*Romany Shaker is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

 

[1] In Arabic: Wilayat Wasat Ifriqiyah.

[2] In Arabic: Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyah.

[4] In Arabic: Wilayat Sina.

[6] See MEMRI JTTM report New ISIS Video Shows Mass Executions Of Christians In Libya, April 19, 2015.

[9] See MEMRI JTTM report First Ever ISIS Claim Of Central Africa Attack, April 19, 2019.

[10] Reuters.com/article/us-congo-security/islamic-state-claims-its-first-congo-attack-idUSKCN1RU2KD, April 18, 2019.

[11] Home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm476, September 7, 2018.

[12] Home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm657, April 15, 2019.

[14] Un.org/press/en/2018/sc13583.doc.htm, November 15, 2018; Monusco.unmissions.org/en/fardc-and-monusco-launch-joint-operations-against-adf, November 16, 2018.

[15] Cnn.com/2018/12/03/politics/isis-threat-us-embassy-drc/index.html, December 3, 2018.

[16] Jamestown.org/program/the-rise-of-adf-nalu-in-central-africa-and-its-connections-with-al-shabaab/, January 9, 2015.

[17] Undocs.org/S/2020/482, June 2, 2020.

[18] Monitor.co.ug/uganda/lifestyle/reviews-profiles/who-is-adf-s-jamil-mukulu—1620396, August 7, 2015.

[19] Thedefensepost.com/2018/12/04/tentative-ties-allied-democratic-forces-isis-dr-congo/, December 4, 2018.

[20] Wsj.com/articles/tanzanian-court-clears-extradition-of-rebel-leader-jamil-mukulu-to-uganda-1435252890, June 25, 2015; Observer.ug/news/headlines/66371-jamil-mukulu-trial-moved-to-inside-luzira-prison, September 1, 2020.

[21] State.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/#.YElIZPH6PZc.twitter, March 10, 2021.

[22] Extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/The%20Islamic%20State%20in%20Congo%20English.pdf, March 2021.

[23] Clubofmozambique.com/news/no-attacks-in-cabo-delgado-just-crimes-say-police-mozambique/, April 25, 2018.

[24] Clubofmozambique.com/news/president-nyusi-warns-that-cabo-delgado-terrorists-can-spread-to-other-neighbouring-countries/, September 26, 2018.

[25] Theconversation.com/tracing-the-history-of-mozambiques-mysterious-and-deadly-insurgency-111563, February 18, 2019.

[26] Issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/sar-27.pdf, October 2019.

[27] Bbc.com/news/world-africa-52532741, May 5, 2020.

[28] Lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-mozambique, January 24, 2021.

[29] See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS Claims Attack In Mozambique For First Time, June 4, 2019.

[30] State.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique/#.YElIZPH6PZc.twitter, March 10, 2021.

[31] See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS Claims Attack In Mozambique For First Time, June 4, 2019.

[32] State.gov/state-department-terrorist-designations-of-isis-affiliates-and-leaders-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-and-mozambique, March 10, 2021.

[34] See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS Publishes Photos From Its Central Africa Province, May 8, 2019.

[40] Bbc.com/news/world-africa-54877202, November 9, 2020.

[42] Reuters.com/article/us-mozambique-insurgency-total/total-says-mozambique-gas-project-work-suspended-after-fighting-idUSKBN2BK06O, March 28, 2021.

[50] 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Republic of the Congo: State.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/republic-of-the-congo, accessed April 1, 2021.

[59] Bbc.com/news/world-africa-56171671, February 23, 2021.

[61] 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Mozambique: State.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/Mozambique, accessed April 1, 2021.

[64] Reuters.com/article/us-pope-mozambique/pope-arrives-in-mozambique-hoping-to-consolidate-peace-idUSKCN1VP0IH, September 4, 2019.

[70] Globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/tanzania#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2020&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2016, accessed April 1, 2021.

[71] 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: Tanzania: State.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/Tanzania, accessed April 1, 2021.

[72] State.gov/reports/2019-report-on-international-religious-freedom/south-africa, accessed April 1, 2021.

[73] Sabcnews.com/sabcnews/at-least-12-south-africans-believed-to-be-part-of-isis-linked-group-that-attacked-mozambique, March 28, 2021.

[74] Iol.co.za/sundayindependent/news/government-mulls-repatriating-isis-black-widows-and-children-41952239, February 2, 2020.

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