Response to the Somali and Malian Jihadist Movements: What Lessons for Mozambique? | Resposta aos Movimentos Jihadistas Somali e Mali: Que Lições para Moçambique?


external interventions; jihadist movements; Mali; Mozambique; post-liberal; Somalia

How to Cite

Franco, A. C. S., & Ajú, M. M. (2022). Response to the Somali and Malian Jihadist Movements: What Lessons for Mozambique? | Resposta aos Movimentos Jihadistas Somali e Mali: Que Lições para Moçambique?. Political Observer | Revista Portuguesa De Ciência Política (Portuguese Journal of Political Science), (17).


Since 2017, Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has witnessed an unprecedented level of violence attributed to jihadist movements. The security threat, instability and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the area has attracted the attention of regional and international actors. The aim of this article is twofold. On the one hand, it discusses the response to jihadist movements in Somalia and Mali in order to explain and contextualize external interventions in Mozambique. On the other hand, it explores the extent of lessons-learned based on the evidence from Somalia and Mali. Specifically, it considers how such interventions may help shade light towards a better understanding of the origin and evolution of Mozambican-based jihadist movement and the possible responses from external actors. The arguments are guided by a post-liberal approach. However, drawing from the relative deprivation theory, the article also focuses on the economic and social exclusion experienced in Cabo Delgado province and highlights the possible underlying root-causes of the current situation. As a main conclusion, lessons learned from stabilization and counterinsurgency interventions in Somalia and Mali must be an integral part of the responses to the Mozambique conflict.


Ajú, M. M. (2022). “Reshaping the African Union Mission in Somalia: From AMISOM to ATMIS”. The Horn Bulletin, 5: 3. Available at
Almeida dos Santos, F. (2020). War in resource-rich northern Mozambique- Six scenarios. CMI Insight, 2, Chr. Michelsen Institute
Baudais, V., & S. Maiga (2022). The European Union Training Mission in Mali: An Assessment, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Available at
Boutellis, A. (2021). MINUSMA’s 2021 mandate renewal in uncertain times. Oslo: EPON network, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Campbell, H. G. (2020). “The War on Terror as a Business: Lessons from Kenya and the Somalia Interventions”, The African Review, 47: 1–40.
Charbonneau, B. (2019). “Intervention as counter-insurgency politics”. Conflict, Security & Development, 19:3, 309-314
Clapham, C. (2017). The Horn of Africa. State Formation and Decay. London: Hurst, 2017
Cramer, C. (2009). Violent conflict and the very poorest, Working Paper No. 129., Chronic Poverty Research Centre
De Waal, A. (2015). The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, War and the Business of Power. Cambridge: Polity
Desgrais, N. & Le Gouriellec, S. (2016). Stratégies d’extraversion: Les défis de la construction de l’Architecture africaine de paix et de sécurité. Note de recherche stratégique n°28, Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l'Ecole Militaire
European Commission (2022). Holistic Strategic Review of EUTM Mali and EUCAP Sahel Mali 2022- working document of the European External Action Service of 20/05/2022. Available at
European Commission (2021). The Horn of Africa: a geo-strategic priority for the EU - Council conclusions. Available at
European Institute of Peace (2018). The Islamic State in East Africa. Available at
Felbab-Brown, V (2017). Puntland's Problems. It's Not Just Al Shabab That Threatens the Region's Stability. Foreign Affairs. Available at
Finkenbusch, P. (2016). Post-liberal peacebuilding and the crisis of international authority, Peacebuilding, 4: 3, 1-15
Franco, A. C. (2021). External interventions in Mali and its borderlands – a case for stabilisation., e-journal of international relations, 12:2, 75-88
Gegout, C. (2017). Why Europe Intervenes in Africa. Security, Prestige and the Legacy of Colonialism. London: Hurst
Guur, T. R. (1970). Why Men Rebel. New Jersey: Princeton University Press
Habibe, S., Forquilha, S. & Pereira, J. (2019). Islamic Radicalization in Northern Mozambique: The Case of Mocímboa da Praia. Cadernos IESE nº17. Maputo: IESE
Hansen, S. J. (2019). Horn, Sahel and Rift. Fault-lines of the African Jihad. London: Hurst
__________ (2016). Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group. London: Hurst
Harmon, S. (2014). Terror and Insurgency in the Sahara-Sahel Region: Corruption, Contraband, Jihad and the Mali War of 2012-2013. Burlington: Ashgate
Hugon, P. (2015). Geopolítica de Africa. Escola Editora: Lisbon
International Crisis Group (2021). Stemming the Insurrection in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado. Africa Report n.303. Available at
Kwarkye, S. (2022). West African coastal terror attacks: just the tip of the iceberg. Institute for Security Studies. Available at
Lotze, W. & Williams, P.D. (2016). The Surge to Stabilize: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia. New York: International Peace Institute
Marsh, N., Rolandsen, Ø. H., Karssen, J. & Sandnes M. (2020). Compounding Fragmentation: Security Force Assistance to Fragile States in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo
Matsinhe, D. M, & Estácio, V. (2019. The genesis of insurgency in northern Mozambique. Southern Africa Report 2, Pretoria: Institute of Security Studies
Morier-Genoud, E. (2020). The jihadi insurgency in Mozambique: origins, nature and beginning. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 1-17
Nasr, W. (2021). Implications of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s New Leadership, Newlines Institute for Strategy & Policy. Available at
Nelson, A. (2020). A Triangle of Vulnerability: Changing patterns of illicit trafficking off the Swahili Coast. Research Report. Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. Available at
Olsen, G. R. (2014). Fighting terrorism in Africa by proxy: the USA and the European Union in Somalia and Mali. European Security, 23:3, 290-306
Raineri, L. (2020). Explaining the Rise of Jihadism in Africa: The Crucial Case of the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara. Terrorism and Political Violence, 1-15
Richardson, C. (2011). Relative Deprivation Theory in Terrorism: A Study of Higher Education and Unemployment as Predictors of Terrorism, Senior Honors Thesis, New York University. Available at:
Schmidt, E. (2018). Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War. Sovereignty, Responsibility and the War on Terror. Athens: Ohio University Press
Skretting, V.B. (2020). Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghrib’s Expansion in the Sahara: New Insights from Primary Sources. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 1–25
Thurston, A. (2020). Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel: Local Politics and Rebel Groups. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Van der Lijn, J., Abouelnasr, L. N, Ahmed, T., Darkwa, L., von Gienanth, T., Edu-Afful, F., Karlsrud, J., & Rupesinghe, N. (2019). Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), EPON network. Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Vines, A. (2013). A decade of African Peace and Security Architecture. International Affairs, 89: 1, 89–109
Williams, P. D. (2018). Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Williams, P.D., & H.Y. Ali (2021). The European Union Training Mission in Somalia: An assessment, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Available at
Williams, P. D., & Boutellis A (2014). Partnership peacekeeping: Challenges and opportunities in the United Nations-African Union Relationship. African Affairs, 113: 451, 254–278
Williams, P. D., D’Alessandro, M., Darkwa, L., de Coning, C., Helal, A., Machakaire, J., and Rupesinghe, N. (2018). Assessing the Effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), EPON network. Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

At the moment of the article submission, it is required to the author(s) declare to agree with the conditions and norms of Political Observer - Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Política, as well as guaranteeing the inedited and original character of the text submitted to scientific evolution. Thus, the author(s) declare to accept the instructions and conditions of publication of the journal, sharing with this the author’s rights, respecting the duties of copyright and ceding to the journal the rights over the first publication of the text in its printed and digital version.

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. The partial or integral publication and sharing of the text (in institutional repositories, book chapters, periodical publications, social media and professional platforms in the areas of science and research, among others) determines the quotation of the initial publication in the journal and the hyperlinking to the website of Political Observer - Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Política, resorting, to that effect, to the available information in the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system.

Political Observer incentives the sharing and distribution of the work published by the authors in the journal, raising the impact factors and the number of registered quotes, this way contributing to an open ( and accessible science ( Published works are under a Creative Commons License - Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International .

Licença Creative Commons