Newly acquired military hardware has been displayed by Mozambique during the country’s armed forces day celebrations, including Marauder armoured personnel carriers and Mi-8/17, Mi-24 and Gazelle helicopters acquired from Paramount Group.
Six Marauders fitted with heavy machinegun turrets were seen taking part in the 25 September parade in Pemba, along with a single Mi-24 attack helicopter (FA-117), an armed Mi-8/17 (FA-093) transport helicopter and a Gazelle light helicopter. The latter was used to rappel a canine handler and dog onto the parade ground.
Marauders were first seen in Mozambique in late 2020 while the helicopters appear to have been delivered earlier this year. Zitamar News previously reported that Mozambican pilots trained in South Africa 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 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 2021.
Fifteen Mozambican pilots are believed to have been 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.
The acquisition of the Marauder vehicles is a welcome addition to the Mozambican military’s armoured vehicle fleet, especially as nearly two dozen anti-tank landmines have been discovered in an insurgent camp in Mocimboa da Praia, and there are reports that Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) vehicles have hit landmines.
Mozambique celebrates its Armed Forces Day on 25 September each year and during the 2021 event, host President Filipe Nyusi was joined by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who arrived in Mozambique for a two-day visit on 24 September. Around a thousand Rwandan troops have been supporting the government forces’ fight against an armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado, later joined by troops from SADC countries.
Rwandan troops arrived in July on a mission that was initially meant to last three months, but on Friday Kagame said it would be up to Mozambique to determine how long Rwandan troops should stay.
The insurgency, gaining in strength since 2017, has caused almost 800 000 people to be internally displaced and brought to a halt a $20 billion liquefied natural gas project led by TotalEnergies.
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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