BBC News reported on 1 July 2021 that more than 100 civilians in Cabo Delgado Province - mainly women and children - had been rescued
from abduction. An army commander accused the Islamic State group-affiliated militants (IS) of using civilians as shields, thus complicating military operations against them. Reuters reported on 12 July 2021 that the European Union (EU) has approved a military mission
to help protect the civilian population. The mission, whose mandate will initially last for two years will involve "military training, including operational preparation, specialized training in counter-terrorism, and training and education in the protection of civilians". In addition, the army is to be strengthened by 1000 Rwandan troops
as well as the Southern African Development Community"s (SADC) joint-force (Reuters, 9 July 2021).
World Watch Research (WWR) analyst Yonas Dembele comments: "Mozambique is a Christian-majority country, but around 18% of citizens are Muslim, primarily residing in the north, which includes Cabo Delgado Province, where most of the violence has occurred. In 2020 alone, there were more than 570 violent incidents, including abductions, killings and beheadings. If the additional training and joint forces are successful in fighting the insurgents, it will most definitely bring relief for Christian communities in the north."
Yonas Dembele continues: "Portugal has already sent soldiers to its former colony to run a four-month program training troops to share intelligence and use drones to track militants' movements. Any action towards reducing the effectiveness of the militants is good news as the IS-affiliated jihadists have shown that they will stop at nothing to achieve their aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate. However, while the armed forces are making positive gains, it is also important that the government addresses the root causes which have made the insurgency so successful to date."