EU Military Training Mission in Mozambique set to start operations

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The European Union (EU) Council has launched the European Union Military Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique), the Council announced on 15 October.

“The mission will 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,” the EU said in a statement.

EUTM Moz will become operational as soon as the ongoing handover from the Portuguese Armed Forces Training Project will be concluded, and is expected to reach its full operational capability by mid-December 2021. It will rely on around 140 military personnel divided between two training centres – one for commando training and one for marines.

The common costs for EUTM Mozambique, to be covered via the European Peace Facility, were evaluated at €15.16 million for a period of two years. In addition, the Council approved on 30 July an urgent assistance measure under the European Peace Facility for a total of €4 million to complement the training of military units with the provision of non-lethal individual and collective equipment.

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 – especially women and girls in conflict – and provide compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law. The mission has a non-executive mandate and will not engage in military operations.

The EU said the mission is open to the participation of “third states”.

The mission commander is the Director of the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, while Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires is the EU Mission Force Commander and leads the mission on the ground. The MPCC is the mission headquarters, responsible for the operational planning and conduct of EUTM Mozambique.

On 12 July 2021, the Council adopted a decision setting up EUTM Mozambique. The decision was the EU response to the Mozambican authorities’ request for increased EU engagement in the areas of peace and security. In his letter of 3 June 2021, the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, welcomed the deployment of an EU military training non-executive Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission in the country.

EUTM Mozambique will contribute to the EU’s integrated approach to Cabo Delgado, together with peacebuilding, conflict prevention and dialogue support, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation, as well as the promotion of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, the EU said.

Southern African nations agreed in June to send troops to help Mozambique respond to the insurgency, which is concentrated in the northern province of Cabo Delgado and has claimed thousands of lives since beginning in 2017. Rwanda, which is not a Southern African Development Community (SADC) member, began deploying soldiers in Mozambique a month later.

A number of areas previously held by militants have been cleared, including the town of Mocimboa da Praia, more than a year after insurgents first seized it. Insurgent bases have also been destroyed, according to security forces.

At the beginning of October, the SADC agreed to extend the troop deployment in Mozambique. The SADC troop deployment was initially for three months and due to end on 15 October.

defenceWeb will on 16 November examine regional and international efforts to counter the violence in Mozambique, through a new virtual conference, with the theme ‘Developing a multi-theatre approach to restoring peace in Cabo Delgado’.

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