This slow process of ISIS radicalization has taken place for a year or more.
Three years after ISIS appeared to be on its last legs in Iraq and Syria it has seized a city in Mozambique. The city is called Mocimboa da Praia and now there are fears it may have a foothold that is growing in the country.
This slow process of ISIS radicalization has taken place for a year or more. However it was largely dismissed as fear mongering. Now the group has infiltrated and some are concerned that it may be on the cusp of a larger offensive. Much like in the ISIS offensive in Iraq in the summer of 2014 the attacks in southeast Africa have displaced hundreds of thousands. There are questions about how the port city might be re-taken by security forces.
The port now affects the whole of Cabo Delgado province. This is in northern Mozambique. The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned of a humanitarian crises that may grow. While some still argue that ISIS is not actually causing or driving the war here, but it is instead just inequality and poverty, the kinds of images from Mozambique look like the same Islamist insurgencies in Nigeria or Somalia or other areas.
While the international community is distracted by COVID-19 and major powers like the US no longer play a role in coordinating efforts like concentrating on these kinds of emergencies, ISIS can thrive in the margins. It has done the same in the Philippines and across the Sahel in Africa. It preys on weak states and ungoverned areas. South Africa is the major regional state that could intervene and turn the tide. It is unclear if it or Tanzania or Kenya will do more.