UK Foreign Office has issued a travel warning against anything but essential travel to Mozambique. This comes after a rise in attacks against civilians, including children. Jamestown Foundation cited Cameroon Concorde News as reporting that some of the attacks included beheading.

The USA also issued warnings last week after attacks in the Palma district of Cabo Delgado province, in the north of the country. CNN reported that the US Embassy in Mozambique had warned American citizens in the Palma area to "consider departing the area immediately."

Mozambique travel warning was updated on 14 June

According to a report by the Express UK, the updated travel warning was issued by the UK Foreign Office on 14th June.

It particularly stressed that the most dangerous regions include "Palma district, Mocimboa de Praia and Macomia in Cabo Delgado province due to an increase in attacks by groups with links to Islamic extremism." However, the travel warning site does explain that the islands off the coast of Mozambique were not included in the warning.

Reuters noted that 10 of 17 people killed in Palma had been beheaded. The rise in violence has been growing since May this year. They also noted that local police seem to be reluctant to attribute the killings to a militant group in the predominantly Muslim region of the country.

Mozambique is a large country and overall about 18 percent of the population is Muslim. However, in the north, they account for over 50 percent.

Militant group Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamâ

The group thought to be responsible call themselves Ansar al-Sunna, a shortened form of Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamâ. They are locally known as Al-Shabaab, but CNN notes that they don't seem to be linked to the group of that name in Somalia. Jamestown Org says it's thought that the group wishes to impose sharia in Mozambique.

On the UK Foreign Office website, the warnings state that "Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Mozambique." They also say on their Terrorism page that, "Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners."

Mozambique is a popular destination for travellers to Southern Africa and it offers some of best diving resorts on the eastern coast.

Long beaches with pristine sand mean that many tourists from the local regions like South Africa visit the area for their holidays. Many of the resorts are located in the south of the country, but the Foreign Office does point out that care should be taken there as well as well. Visitors are advised that carjacking has increased in major cities and that people should avoid driving around at night.