Mozambique’s military will soon start using Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters in the fight against insurgents in Cabo Delgado province as Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) private military contractors have their involvement reduced.
This is according to Zitamar News, which reported that DAG is to end its involvement in the conflict on 6 April 2021.
A well-placed source told Zitamar that DAG’s helicopter support would come to an end on 6 April, and from then on, air support would be provided by Mozambican military helicopters recently acquired from Paramount, and flown by Mozambican pilots trained by Paramount and its partner company, Burnham Global. DAG has used Gazelle, Alouette III and Jet Ranger helicopters in Mozambique.
Zitamar sources told the news company that the Mozambican pilots would operate four Gazelle helicopters, while two Russian-made helicopters — an Mi-17 and an Mi-24 — would be operated by Ukrainian crews.
Journalist Nuno Rogeiro late last year reported that Mozambique would be getting several upgraded Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters from Paramount, fitted with weapons, sensors and other equipment. While Mozambique has its own Mi-24 and Mi-17 helicopters, they are all understood to be grounded/unserviceable and the new acquisitions are refurbished second hand models.
In February this year, two ex-UK Army Gazelles were seen at Nacala Airport in Mozambique in Mozambican military colours. They were supplied by Paramount, and it is understood another four were destined to be transferred from the UK to South Africa before making their way to Mozambique or perhaps the Paramount Academy in Polokwane or another African defence force.
Africa Intelligence in December last year reported that an agreement between Mozambique and Paramount covers at least 12 Marauder armoured vehicles and four Gazelle helicopters, with the Gazelles to be delivered by February.
Fifteen Mozambican pilots were being trained at the Paramount Technical Training Academy based at Polokwane International Airport, Africa Intelligence reported. Burnham Global is also providing training in the operation of the armoured vehicles on the ground in Mozambique, according to the Daily Maverick.
On 23 February Paramount and Burnham Global announced a multimillion dollar contract with an African government to provide a range of military training and advisory services. This country is believed to be Mozambique.
Paramount is believed to be supporting the Mozambican Ministry of Defence while DAG has been employed by the Ministry of the Interior to support police operations in Cabo Delgado. DAG started operations in Mozambique in April 2020, and saw its contract renewed in July that year and expanded to include training ground troops, Zitamar said. Dyck Advisory Group lost a Gazelle helicopter in April 2020, which was apparently shot down by insurgents it was targeting at the time.
Dyck’s apparently reduced presence in Mozambique comes after an Amnesty International report said DAG had fired indiscriminately on civilians while helping the government fight the insurgency.