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"Local insurgency" or "International Terrorism"? Narratives and interpretations about the origin of the War in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

Grant number: 23/08584-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2024
Effective date (End): June 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Melvina Afra Mendes de Araújo
Grantee:Zacarias Milisse Chambe
Supervisor: Eric Morier-Genoud
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland  
Associated to the scholarship:22/08122-7 - Fabrics among gunpowder: violence, memory and narratives about the construction of place in the war in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, BP.PD


Since October 2017, when a group of radical guerrillas with unidentified origins and motivations began incursions against civilians and state institutions in the district of Mocimboa da Praia, in the extreme north of Mozambique, the violence has spread and encompassed more villages and districts of the region, forcing the displacement of the population, including an inestimable number of dead and missing persons. An enormous amount of research, reports, and newspaper articles were published, analysing different arguments about the origins and motivations of the conflict and suggesting a dispute of narratives: accountability to a group of "local insurgents" without defined leadership, defended by the country's government; the alliances of local youth with certain religious circles of transnational jihadism with a political fundamentalist ideology of Islam (Habibe, Forquilha and Perreira, 2017; Morier-Genoud, 2020 and Bonate, 2022) and their deprivation in enjoying the benefits of exploiting natural resources to the region (Weimer, 2020). In this proposal research I intend to analyse the narratives and interpretations about the change in the categorization of the conflict, from "local insurgency" to "international terrorism". This research combines the ethnographic observations that I have been carrying out since 2018, following the daily lives of hundreds of displaced people sheltered in the center of Nacaca, south of Cabo Delgado, with diverse material that includes oral histories, institutional documents and interviews with State agents and researchers from institutions of studies and security. Having partially analysed the material, the internship at in the Queen's University of Belfast will contribute to exploring various archives, building new perspectives and dialogues with other researchers, and discussing my ethnographic materials.

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