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EU ministers approve training mission to Mozambique

The European Union training mission will be based in the south and centre of the country, and should be in place by October

The European Council has approved the decision to send a military training mission to Mozambique, that will spend at least two years helping Mozambique’s armed forces to build a “Quick Reaction Force” that aims to restore security to Cabo Delgado province.

The mission, made up of around 120 people, will arrive between September and October, a diplomatic source told Zitamar News on Monday — to be stationed at bases in Katembe, in the capital Maputo, and in Chimoio, the capital of Manica province, close to the border with Zimbabwe in central Mozambique.

In a statement on Monday, the European Council — the highest decision-making body of the European Union, made up of member states’ government ministers — said the mission’s 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.

The mission — officially called the EU military training mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique) — will provide military training including operational preparation, specialised training on counter-terrorism, and training and education on the protection of civilians and compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law, the statement said.

EUTM Mozambique will be led by French Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, as commander, while Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires, of Portugal, will lead the mission on the ground as force commander. The mission will effectively continue the work done by a Portuguese training mission that has been in Mozambique since early this year.

Rwanda announced on Friday the immediate deployment of 1,000 military and police whom it said would work with Mozambique’s military and forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) “in designated sectors of responsibility”. The SADC expects to begin its deployment to the province this week.

On its website, the Rwandan government said its contingent would be involved in “combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform (SSR).” A military source in Cabo Delgado told Zitamar on Monday that Rwandan forces were already on the ground in Afungi, the location of the Mozambique LNG project close to the town of Palma.

This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.