By Jorge Joaquim
Portugal will support Mozambique in fighting the terrorism in Cabo Delgado province with training and logistical support for its military, Portuguese defence minister João Gomes Cravinho has said.
Starting in January, a team of Portuguese military personnel will be in Mozambique to draft a project together with the general staff of the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces.
Cravinho said it was important to know the enemy, as terrorism in Mozambique had common characteristics with terrorism in other parts of the world, particularly on the African coast, but it also had aspects local to the area. He added that since Portugal would take over the presidency of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2021, it would help in reiterating Mozambique’s request for support from the EU and strengthen the EU’s capacity to respond to needs on the ground.
Last week the interior minister, Amade Miquidade, said tha the Mozambican police’s criminal investigation unit, Sernic, is undergoing specialised training to deal with terrorism-related issues in Cabo Delgado province.
He said that the aim was to enable officers to understand how terrorists operate, and that in Mozambique they acted like guerrillas. He added that terrorists recruited young people to join their ranks, and it was up to Sernic to investigate to prevent this from happening.
Insurgents who attacked a village in Cabo Delgado province earlier this week were trying to approach the Afungi peninsula, where the natural gas projects are being developed, President Filipe Nyusi has said.
Nyusi praised the Defence and Security Forces’ response to the insurgent attack on the village of Mute, which is less than 25km away from the site of the projects. Government forces held off the attack with the support of helicopters.
As with previous attacks, their proximity to the gas projects caused teams of contractors working on the construction of the gas projects to stop work, but they resumed work yesterday.
Meanwhile, French oil and gas multinational Total, which is leading one of the projects, told Lusa agency that it was maintaining permanent contact with the Mozambican authorities to closely monitor the situation in Cabo Delgado. An official source from Total said: “The safety of the workforce and the activities of the Mozambique LNG project is our absolute priority”.