The United States wants to be Mozambique’s security partner of choice in strengthening border security and in strengthening its capacity to counter terrorist activity, according to Ambassador-at-Large Nathan Sales, US Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
He was speaking during a special briefing following his recent trip to Mozambique and South Africa.
Sales was in Mozambique to discuss civilian counterterrorism capabilities, representing the US State department. What Sales and the US State Department seek to do in Mozambique is develop rule-of-law compliant capabilities in border security and law enforcement so that police, investigators, prosecutors and judges have the, “tools they need to defeat terrorists in a sustainable and durable way”.
What the US has done in other parts of the world including Africa is provide a custom, integrated suite of capabilities and equipment for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute terrorist crimes as well as respond to and prevent terrorist attacks. Sales said that while he was in Maputo, the US and Mozambique discussed their mutual commitment to a “strong strategic partnership to counter terrorism in Cabo Delgado and focused on ongoing efforts to counter ISIS and terrorism in the country, and specifically in the region.”
In answering a question on other countries involvement in Mozambique, Sales declared the US able to equip its partners with the capabilities and tools to, “get terrorists under control to degrade and defeat their networks.” Sales believes no other country provides what the US does in countering terrorism, concluding his answer with a jab at Wagner Group in saying, “The way to fight terrorists is not to send in a bunch of mercenaries to loot natural resources and then abscond.”
Another example of what Sales meant by the US State department providing unique capabilities is bolstering Mozambique’s legal framework for handling terrorism.
Nothing has been signed yet but Sales said the Mozambican government is taking the terrorist threat very seriously. Reports by many journalists, scholars and security analysts critical of the Mozambican government’s capabilities and history in countering terrorism point at US State Department assistance. Sales did not discuss financing this potential partnership, perhaps through US foreign aid, but the next question may be if the Mozambican government can handle and implement this assistance.
The special briefing closed with Sales saying, “I think what we have is a meeting of the minds on the need to work together and a willingness to have further conversations about how we can defeat this shared enemy.”