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Mozambique has detailed counterterrorism provisions in its domestic law. The new counterterrorism law adopted in May 2022 is feared to threaten the right of free speech.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

A terrorist act is defined in a glossary to the 2022 counterterrorism law as follows:

action intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm, committed against civilians or anyone who does not take a direct part in hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, with the aim of provoking a state of terror in the general public, or in a group of people or private individuals, to intimidate the population or force a Government or an international organization to act or refrain from engaging in a certain act.

Predicate offences are as follows:

a) use or threaten to use, transport, store or bring explosives, radioactive substances, toxic gases , poisons, biological, chemical, nuclear or other means capable of causing damage or mass destruction;

b) set fire, loot, destroy or explode a means of transportation or any public or private property;

c) interfere, sabotage or damage computer systems or databases;

d) sabotage the operation or seize, with violence, serious threat to the person or using mechanisms cybernetic, total or partial control, even if temporarily, the media or transport, from ports, airports, railway stations or highways, health establishments or laboratories, or educational establishments;

e) sports facilities, public or local facilities where essential public services operate, power generation or transmission facilities, military and paramilitary installations, exploration, refinery or processing of petroleum and gas, facilities of credit institutions and their network service;

f) attempt against the life or physical integrity of a person. 

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Mozambique is a State Party to most of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signatory


Mozambique is also a State Party to the two African Union regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Under the new law:

The crime of terrorism is committed by anyone who, with the aim of creating social insecurity, terror or panic in the population or of putting pressure on the State, Government or any national or international organization of an economic, social or political nature to carry out or refrain from carrying out a certain or certain activities.Art. 11(1), 2022 Law on Countering Terrorism.

The penalty for the predicate offences is increased when it concerns a terrorist offence.Art. 11(3), 2022 Law on Countering Terrorism.Under the 2022 law, making or repeating publicly statements relating to terrorist acts that are known to be false or grossly misleading, with the intention of creating public panic, disturbances or insecurity and disorder, is punishable with between two and eight years in prison.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

Mozambique faces a significant terrorist threat in Cabo Delgado province in the north of the country from a group associated with Islamic State. The Russian mercenary group, Wagner, came and later left the country having failed to assist the authorities in suppressing the violence. The Wagner Group was alleged to have committed serious human rights abuses during its operations. 

Following its withdrawal, the Mozambican government hired the South African contractor Dyck Advisory Group (DAG). In 2021,  DAG announced it would hire outside lawyers to look into its activities in Mozambique after Amnesty International accused it of firing indiscriminately on civilians while helping the government fight an insurgency.


Mozambique 2022 Law on Terrorism (original text)