EU Mozambique military training mission on track

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The EU could have a military training mission in Mozambique in months, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said, to help the southern African country tackle Islamist insurgents.

“I think we could approve this mission,” Josep Borrell told reporters ahead of an EU defence ministers meeting in Lisbon where the subject was due to be discussed.

The problem is to find countries besides Portugal to supply troops, he added.

Borrell previously said 200 to 300 personnel could be sent by year-end.

Portugal sent 60 soldiers to its former colony this month to start training soldiers to counter the insurgency, share intelligence and use drones to track militants’ movements.

Portuguese Defence Minister Joao Cravinho said other countries expressed willingness to send troops but declined to name them. Portugal would be the “principal participant” in the mission, he said.

Cravinho expected remaining EU troops to be dispatched in three to four months, “perhaps faster”.

Mozambique is grappling with an insurgency in its northern province Cabo Delgado since 2017 and violence has grown significantly in the past year.

Dozens of civilians were killed in Islamic State-linked attacks in the coastal town Palma in April and a $20 billion liquefied natural gas project run by oil giant Total was halted by the violence.