By Jorge Joaquim
The USA and Mozambican governments launched today, 15, a two-month Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) training program, in which the U.S. Special Operations Forces will train Mozambican marines for two months to support the southen african country efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.
U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) Deputy Commander Colonel Richard Schmidt represented the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) during the opening ceremony, while Major General Ramiro Ramos Tulcidás represented the Government of Mozambique.
According to a press release seen by Pan African Visions, in addition to training, the USA provided medical and communications equipment.
“The United States is committed to supporting Mozambique with a multifaceted and holistic approach to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism”, it says adding that “this approach addresses socioeconomic development issues as well as the security situation.
“Civilian protection, human rights, and community engagement are central to U.S. cooperation and are foundational to effectively counter the Islamic State in Mozambique.”
Last week the United States has designated the Islamic State group’s Mozambican branch, also known as Al-Shabab and Ansar al-Sunna, as a terrorist organisation together with its leader, a Tanzanian named Abu Yasir Hassan.
The designation requires banks to freeze their assets and bans any US citizen from dealing with them.
In a press release, the US state department said that it was a crime for anyone to provide support to the group, and that any foreign financial institution that carried out a transaction on their behalf could face sanctions. Isis in Mozambique has killed over 1,300 civilians since October 2017, the release added, and is “responsible for orchestrating a series of large scale and sophisticated attacks resulting in the capture of the strategic port of Mocimboa da Praia.”
In its statement, which also designated the IS’ affiliate in DR Congo as a terrorist organisation, the state department said that although IS-associated media portray the IS Central African Province (ISCAP) as a unified structure, “ISIS-DRC and ISIS-Mozambique are distinct groups with distinct origins.”