European Union to Train Mozambican Military to Fight Terrorism
The European Union will train around 2,000 Mozambican naval and special forces to help fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency that’s left more than 3,400 people dead and halted Africa’s biggest private investment yet.
Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is desperately trying to end a four-year insurgency in gas-rich northern province Cabo Delgado province, which threatens to derail its ambitions to become one of the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporters. In April, TotalEnergies SE suspended work on its $20 billion LNG project due to an escalation of violence in the region.
The two-year training mission that began Wednesday aims to create a quick-reaction force specialized in counter-terrorism, said Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar, the head of the EU mission in Mozambique. It will comply with international humanitarian law and human rights while protecting the population, he said.
“We will train and equip the Mozambican quick-reaction force to protect civilians with the same European standards,” Force Commander Brigadier Nuno Pires Lemos said.
The operation will also provide non-lethal equipment to the Mozambican army and is estimated to cost $15 million a year, Gaspar said. “The mission is the European Union’s response to the Mozambican authorities’ request for increased European support in the fields of peace and security.”
The southern African nation had originally resisted allowing foreign armies to help battle the insurgency even as the extremist rebels seized key towns. The U.S. and about 20 African and European countries are now supporting the government’s efforts to fight terrorism, by either deploying soldiers to assist in on-the-ground combat or training local troops.
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