The European Union on Monday imposed sanctions against ISIS-Mozambique and two of its leaders. File Photo by European Union/EP/UPI | License Photo
April 25 (UPI) -- The European Union has sanctioned an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist group in Mozambique and two of its leaders as the lawmakers seek to stem years of violence that has displaced more than a million people in the northern Cabo Delgado province.
Lawmakers in the 27-member bloc's council, which defines the union's political direction, announced the punitive measures against Abu Yasir Hassan and Bonomade Machude Omar as well as their ISIS-Mozambique terrorist organization on Monday.
All three have been previously designated by the United States.
"Their activities contribute to the expansion of the terrorist threat in Mozambique and pose a serious threat to the EU and to regional and international stability," the EU said in a statement.
"Today's decision reconfirmed the EU's resolve in countering the continued terrorist threat posed by Al-Qaida, ISIL/Da'esh and their regional affiliates," the EU said while adding that it "remains committed to taking decisive action against those who continue to threaten international peace and security by planning, financing and committing terrorist attacks and by spreading their deadly terrorist propaganda around the world."
The sanctions come as the EU deploys a variety of humanitarian, development and peace and security initiatives to confront violence in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado, which has been home to a deadly insurrection since 2017, according to the nonprofit International Crisis Group.
The website for the United States' Office of the Director of National Intelligence states ISIS publicly recognized the insurgents as a branch in 2019, with Hassan being its overall leader and Omar being a senior military commander and attack coordinator.
Between October 2017 and March 2021, ISIS-Mozambique killed more than 1,300 civilians with associated violence resulting in the deaths of another 2,500 people, including members of security forces, civilians and suspected militants, the U.S. intelligence office said.
The violence, according to the International Organization for Migration, has displaced some 1 million people in Cabo Delgado with another 2 million in Cabo Delgado and neighboring Niassa and Nampula provinces in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.