BBC News reported on 28 May 2021 that the leaders of several southern African countries have agreed at a summit of the South African Development Community (SADC) on 27 May to form a joint armed force
to combat the insurgency in Cabo Delgado Province.‚ Earlier, on 24 May 2021, BBC News reported that Mozambique"s army had succeeded in foiling
a new attack by Islamic militants on the outskirts of the northern town of Palma.
World Watch Research analyst Yonas Dembele comments: "Mozambique"s northern province of Cabo Delgado has been experiencing instability for several months due to the activities of fighters affiliated to the Islamic State group (IS). In March 2021, Islamic militants seized the key port of Palma, killing several people and displacing more than 35,000, with many fleeing to the provincial capital, Pemba. In the same month, hundreds of militants stormed Pemba in an attack that left dozens dead. High levels of poverty and disputes over access to land and jobs have contributed to local grievances, giving room for the militants to recruit more members. Although it is good news that the fresh attack could be repelled, it is nevertheless a stark reminder that the jihadists will stop at nothing to achieve their aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate. This is why the SADC initiative is so important. It is hoped that the joint force will contribute towards reducing the effectiveness of any attacks and disrupt the militants" logistics and lines of supply. Since IS affiliates often target Christians, addressing this situation effectively will help bring some relief to the Christian community in the area, many of whom live in fear of attack."