For two years, the mission headed by a Portuguese Commander would impart technical knowledge on soldiers battling against IS linked-jihadists.
The European Union has announced that her experts will henceforth help in the training of Mozambique military personnel involved in the fight against IS-linked jihadists in the northern Cabo Delgado Province which has been under incessant attacks forcing the population and most multinational companies in the area to abandon their activities. The decision was made public on Monday, July 12, 2021 after the EU and Mozambican authorities formally endorsed an agreement.
Former colonial power, Portugal, is already providing training for Mozambican troops. Their military instructors on the ground are expected to make up some half of the new EU mission, which will be headed by a Portuguese commander. “The aim of the mission is to train and support the Mozambican armed forces in protecting the civilian population and restoring safety and security in the Cabo Delgado province,” an EU statement said, without giving details on the overall size of the deployment. “The mandate of the mission will initially last two years. During this period, its strategic objective will be to support the capacity building of the units of the Mozambican armed forces that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force.”
A deadly insurgency by militants linked to the Islamic State group has ravaged the gas-rich Cabo Delgado Province since late 2017, claiming some 3,000 lives and displacing 800,000 people. A senior European diplomat told AFP in June that other countries including France, Italy, and Spain are also expected to provide personnel for the mission.
The approval of the EU training mission comes as regional powers are also looking to bolster their support for Mozambique's fight to crush the insurgency. Last month, the 16 southern African countries in the SADC bloc approved the deployment of forces as Mozambique's government said it was open to foreign boots on the ground to battle the jihadists. Rwanda last Friday deployed a joint contingent of 1,000 troops made of members of the Rwanda Defence Force and National Police personnel to the war-torn province of Cabo Delgado. The EU is not in their first training mission in Africa, they are in Mali, Somalia and Central African Republic.