Do natural shocks increase insurgent rates of civilian victimisation? This paper considers one case of a natural shock that directly affected an ongoing rebellion, Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado insurgency, where in recent years an insurgency with few societal ties and an extremist, pro-Islamic State ideology has engaged in multiple attacks on civilians. The assessment employs both time series analysis and qualitative evaluations. The focus is on the effects of cyclones—a climatic event whose rates are predicted to intensify over the coming decades—on this insurgency’s use of violence against civilians. In contrast to several past studies of natural shocks in conflict zones and strategic violence against civilians, findings suggest that in contexts of insurgencies that do not have a strong local support base and where the group purports an extremist transnational ideology, natural shocks may lead to more violence against civilians.

This abstract is part of an article that was originally published in Environment and Security journal.