By Jorge Joaquim
Britain should send cash and troops to Mozambique to prevent Islamic militants from establishing a caliphate in southern Africa, according to Simon Mann, who has led effective mercenary campaigns on the continent.
An insurgency in the gas-rich north of the country has been gathering pace for the past three years, with a wave of fresh atrocities reported in recent weeks, including the beheading of 50 civilians, many of them women and children. More than 4,000 fighters linked to Islamic State have overwhelmed Mozambique’s troops and police.
Simon Mann, who was imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea for his part in a coup attempt there, told The Times that he believes that an elite, 3,000-strong Mozambican fighting unit trained by serving or former soldiers, seconded or contracted from Britain and elsewhere — “who would then go into battle with them” — is the best hope. A special division with 700 top-flight trainers could be in the field within three months, he said.
Mann, who co-founded Executive Outcomes, regarded in the 1990s as the world’s most successful mercenary outfit, and who was at one time a general in the Angolan armed forces, bases his proposal on his own experiences of helping to end the civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone in the 90s.
The price of doing nothing will end up being much higher in the end, Mr Mann believes. “The UK has a great fund of money available only for aid. We surely have a simple duty to help relieve suffering, when we are able? How better to spend that money than by ending a war? That’s real aid.”