Maputo, 25 Aug (AIM) – The leader of the Islamist terrorists in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, Bonomade Machude Omar, along with other members of the leadership, has been killed in combat with the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM).
According to the FADM Chief of Staff, Joaquim Mangrasse, who made the announcement on Friday, “from the investigation carried out, we have verified, with factual evidence, that the main leader who has directed operations since the outbreak of terrorism in Mozambique, named as Bonomade Machude, also as Ibn Omar, and as Abu Suraka, has been killed”.
“The images are available, and they deserve a definitive evaluation, because alongside the terrorist leader Ibn Omar, two more of his direct followers, still to be identified, were also fatally hit, in the company of more terrorists”, he added.
Ibn Omar, said to be the leader of the self-styled “Islamic State” group in Mozambique, was targeted by the second phase of the FADM’s ongoing “Coup Duro II” operation.
“As we have been saying, terrorism is not over yet”, warned Mangrasse, adding that the jihadists are currently acting in “small dispersed groups. These groups are the reason for our permanent scouring and cleaning of the bush”, he said.
“However, we reaffirm that the enemy has been dislodged from all district headquarters that were once occupied. Operations are continuing in coordination with our partners”, added Mangrasse (These partners ate contingents from the Rwandan armed forces and from the SADC Military Mission in Mozambique – SAMIM).
The “Islamic State” group claimed two attacks this week against the Mozambican Forces, pointing to the death of at least nine soldiers, but this has not yet been officially confirmed.
The group’s propaganda channels claimed that the first attack resulted from a “bomb explosion” against Mozambican forces, in the district of Mocímboa da Praia, but gave no details.
In the second alleged attack, in Macomia district, the jihadists calimed they killed seven Mozambican soldiers and two officers, “in an ambush”.
Bonomade Omar is one of the few Mozambican terrorists leaders whose background has been researched.
According to the Centre for Invesigative Journalism (CJI), he is a Mozambican born in the Palma district of Cabo Delgado province, with part of his childhood spent in Mocímboa da Praia. He has often been described as the brains behind the jihadist raids, and is said to define all targets and the necessary operational logistics.
He finished his high school at Januário Pedro Secondary School in Mocímboa da Praia, and then proceeded to study Islam in various countries. When he returned to Mozambique, he got a job with the Africa Muslim Agency, in the Cabo Delgado provincial capital, Pemba.
CJI’s sources say that Ibn Omar is an “Islamic scholar, clever and very intelligent”. As a pupil, he scored high marks, and was hard-working and dedicated. Nobody suspected that his future would be in the ranks of terrorism.
Initially, Omar made a living selling vegetables and Muslim clothing at a market in Pemba, on behalf of a foreign merchant, who is said to have been either Tanzanian or Somali. He travelled to Tanzania and South Africa, and then returned to Mocímboa da Praia, where he built a mosque, as well as a stall for the sale of trinkets acquired in Tanzanian markets or in Pemba.
But he broke sharply with most of the Islamic leadership in Cabo Delgado, and became one of the leaders of the terrorist group known locally as “Al-Shabaab” (which does not appear to have any direct connection with the Somali organization of the same name).
He participated in the first attacks against police premises in Mocímboa da Praia in October 2017. In 2020, he was part of the terrorist group which seized Mocimboa da Praia town, and the following year he led the attack against Palma town, which forced the French oil and gas company to suspend its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.