The U.S. Department of State has sanctioned two affiliates of the ISIS terrorist group, both operating in sub-Saharan Africa. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Democratic Republic of the Congo, or ISIS-DRC, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Mozambique, or ISIS-Mozambique, have been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. The two groups have also been named Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224. ISIS-DRC leader Seka Musa Baluku and Abu Yasir Hassan of ISIS-Mozambique, have been tagged by the State Department as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
ISIS-DRC, also known as the Allied Democratic Forces and Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen, operates mostly in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in eastern DRC. The group is notorious in this region for its brutal violence against both civilians and regional military forces. Under the leadership of Seka Musa Baluku, ISIS-DRC is responsible for the deaths of 849 civilians in 2020 alone.
ISIS-Mozambique, also known as Ansar al-Sunna, and locally as al-Shabaab in Mozambique, is mainly active in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado Province. The group reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS in April 2018 and was acknowledged by ISIS-Core as an affiliate in August 2019.Under the leadership of Abu Yasir Hassan, the group has killed about 1300 civilians since late 2017. Its attacks have resulted in the displacement of nearly 670,000 persons within northern Mozambique.
By designating ISIS-DRC and ISIS-Mozambique and their leaders as terrorists, the U.S. Department of State notifies the U.S. public and the international community that these groups have committed violent terrorist attacks or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. The designations also serve to identify the groups’ leadership.
As a consequence of the designation, the United States freezes what funds or property these entities or individuals may have within the reach of U.S. authorities. Thus, they are effectively locked out of the international banking system and lose their ability to transfer money to vendors and to receive money from donors. As well, all U.S. businesses, manufacturers and individuals are prohibited from dealing or trading with them.