The operating environment in Mozambique is increasingly becoming cluttered. And so is the battle space. In February 2022, US AFRICOM announced Third Joint Combined Exchange Training programmes between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Mozambican Commandos and Fuzileiros. Further, the training will facilitate tactical combat casualty care and combat lifesaver training courses for the armed forces. This follows a decision by European Union to launch the European Union Military Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM MOZ). The mission is said to support a more efficient and effective response by the Mozambican armed forces to the crisis in the Cabo Delgado province by providing them with training and capacity building. EUTM MOZ became operational following conclusion of Portuguese Armed Forces Training Project of Mozambican armed forces. By end of 2021, the mission had reached its full operational capability with around 140 military personnel divided between two training centres; one for commando training and one for marines. The mandate of the mission is expected to last two years. During this period, its strategic objective is to support the capacity building of the units of the Mozambican armed forces that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force. In particular, the mission will provide military training including operational preparation, specialised training on counter-terrorism, and training and education on the protection of civilians. And then there is SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) which was deployed in July, 2021, after Mozambique had played political gymnastics with SADC. It was not until 16 July, 2021 that finally Mozambique agreed to sign Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) for deployment of the SADC Standby Force to the Republic of Mozambique. Further, the political and security posture of Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi is dangerously ambiguous, controversial and often counterproductive. The mandate of SAMIM includes supporting the Republic of Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado, by neutralising terrorist threat and restoring security in order to create a secure environment; strengthening and maintaining peace and security, restoring law and order in affected areas of Cabo Delgado Province; and supporting the Republic of Mozambique, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, to continue providing humanitarian relief to population affected by terrorist activities, including internally displaced persons (IDPs). On the other hand, there is Rwanda, "most competent and best-organised army in Africa," according to army spokesperson Rwivanga. Rwanda was the first African country to send a contingent of 1,000 soldiers in resource-rich Cabo Delgado, which is the site of a $20 billion (€17 billion) liquefied natural gas project operated by French energy giant Total. Since their military intervention, the Rwandese have claimed a series of victories such as retaking the strategic port town of Mocimboa da Praia from the jihadists. There is broad agreement that the multiple players in the Mozambican conflict, reflects spaghetti of national interests there. They are all there for reasons far beyond humanitarian assistance. Between 2010 and 2013, approximately 5 trillion cubic meters gas deposits were discovered in Mozambique, propelling the country to be one of the largest gas reserves in the world. A myriad of French companies in the fossil fuel industry and adjacent sectors, such as logistics and private security, are now involved in the gas projects underway off the coast of Mozambique. Besides, France’s Total, the U.S’ Exxon Mobil, and Italy’s ENI, have stepped up work on the ground to extract liquid natural gas (LNG) from the African continent’s three largest deposits, all in Cabo Delgado. With EU under pressure to reduce its dependency on Russian gas, Mozambique is a potential backfill.
MOZAMBIQUE: Spaghetti of interests
Friday, April 08, 2022