Ansar al-Sunna (Mozambique)
Ansar al-Sunna (transl. Supporters of the tradition), also known as al-Shabaab, Ahlu al-Sunna, Swahili Sunna, and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jammah, is an Islamist militant group active in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique. The group has attacked security forces and civilians in an attempt to establish an Islamic state in the area. Ansar al-Sunna's name is similar to the name of an Iraqi Sunni insurgent group that fought against US troops between 2003 and 2007. Locals call them "al-Shabaab" but they are a separate organization from Somali Al-Shabaab. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and outside observers have claimed that all or at least factions of Ansar al-Sunna have joined the Islamic State's Central Africa Province. Regardless, ISIL does not seem to actually control the Mozambican insurgents, although there is evidence that it has sent trainers to aid the insurgency.
|Leaders||Various cell leaders|
|Dates of operation||2015 – present|
|Active regions||Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique|
|Part of||Islamic State's Central Africa Province (partially or completely)|
|Battles and wars||Insurgency in Cabo Delgado|
The group was reportedly formed in Cabo Delgado by followers of the radical Kenyan cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed who resettled in Mozambique following his death in 2012. The group recruited local, frustrated youth such as fishermen, petty traders, and miners who felt neglected and ignored by the Mozambican government, while considering traditional religious authorities as too close to the state. The group became increasingly violent in 2017, carrying out attacks on government and civilian targets. Though a 2019 video depicted militants professing allegiance to ISIL, members rarely refer to themselves as part of that group. Propaganda is seldom issued by Ansar-al-Sunna. Funding for the group is raised from illegal smuggling, religious networks, and people-traffickers.
Ansar al-Sunna militants were trained by ex-policemen and ex-frontier guards who had been fired and held grudges against the government. The movement also contacted other Islamist militants in East Africa, and reportedly hired al-Shabaab trainers from Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya. These al-Shabaab trainers acted as mercenaries, however, and aided Ansar al-Sunna due to the pay they received from the latter. Some of the Ansar al-Sunna militants have also journeyed abroad to receive direct training by other militant groups.
Members of Ansar al-Sunna are reportedly mostly Mozambicans from the Mocímboa da Praia, Palma and Macomia districts, but also include foreign nationals from Tanzania and Somalia. The militants are known to speak Portuguese, the official language of Mozambique, Kimwani, the local language, and Swahili, the lingua franca language spoken in the Great Lakes region. 
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