Two European Union (EU) missions on the eastern side of Africa are in discussion on how best to assist in hotspot Mozambique.
The European bloc has long been a presence in waters off the Horn of Africa and Somalia via anti-piracy and food delivery protection Operation Atalanta. Current Atalanta force Commander Spanish Rear Admiral Cuerda Lorenzo last week reached out to Brigadier General Lemos Pires, EU military training mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique) commander, on what an EU NavFor Somalia statement termed “discussions on possible synergies” in the greater Cabo Delgado region and the Mozambique Channel.
The waterway off Mozambique is a busy one and although not often frequented by pirates, is regularly patrolled and surveilled by Operation Atalanta assets with the SA Navy (SAN) also providing irregular patrol and surveillance. As part of its commitment to the Southern African Development Community’s Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), South Africa has indicated it will commit surface and sub-surface SA Navy (SAN) assets to the mission. The only SAN asset presently in Mozambique is the revamped strikecraft SAS Makhanda (P1569), currently serving as an offshore patrol vessel.
The Mozambique Channel is the southern boundary of operations for the EU naval task force. “As part of its mandate, Atalanta remains committed to put its means and capabilities forward to support EU sister missions within the EU integrated approach to external conflicts and crisis, tackling current symptoms and root causes of a deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Mozambique,” the statement reads.
“EUTM Mozambique follows a request from the Mozambican government to support their armed forces through a training and capacity building mission. An escalation of violence led to internal displacement of more than 700 000 people. Estimates are at least 1.3 million people in Cabo Delgado and neighbouring Niassa and Nampula provinces require immediate humanitarian assistance and protection. The mission will provide training and support to the Mozambican armed forces to protect the civilian population and restore security in Cabo Delgado. It has a non-executive mandate and will end two years after reaching full operational capability,” the EU NavFor statement reads.
EUTM has the strategic objective of supporting Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (FADM) capacity building for a quick reaction force. The mission will provide military training including operational preparation, specialised training on counter-terrorism as well as training and education on 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 military training mission in Mozambique is expected to reach full operational capability by mid-December 2021. It will rely on 140 military personnel at 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 EU Council approved an urgent assistance measure under the European Peace Facility for €4 million to complement military unit training providing non-lethal individual and collective equipment.
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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