The authorities in Mozambique have named Islamic State (IS) as the group behind a series of deadly attacks, since 2017, in the northernmost gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado which have killed hundreds and displaced thousands of residents.
Analysts have been speculating about the identity of the group and their motives.
It had been widely reported that the group identified as al-Shabab but not linked to the Somalia-based Islamist militant group of the same name.
Other reports say they were affiliated to the Islamic State Central Africa Province (Iscap), an IS affiliate.
Mozambique’s National Defence and Security Council ( CNDS), a body that advises President Filipe Nyusi, concluded after a meeting on Thursday that IS was behind the attacks:
“The authorship of the attacks has been claimed by the Islamic State, a terrorist organisation, shows that Mozambique is facing foreign aggression perpetrated by terrorists,” CNDS said in a press release.
Earlier this week police said 52 people were killed in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district, in Cabo Delgado, on 7 April but only came to light late on Tuesday.
The CNDS praised the defence and security forces “for their efforts to restore public order and security, and the normal functioning of institutions.”
It also urged Cabo Delgado communities “to continue their commitment to supporting” the Mozambican forces.
The press release did not mention the advances by the militants earlier this month, in which they had briefly occupied the capitals of three districts, namely Mocimboa da Praia, Quissanga and Muidumbe.