EU mulls military training mission to steady Mozambique

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The World Bank has injected funds into parts of Mozambique.
The World Bank has injected funds into parts of Mozambique.
Ali Makram Ghareeb/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said they will consider sending a military training mission to Mozambique.
  • Mozambique asked the EU for help last year.
  • The south African country has been facing Islamist insurgency since 2017.

The European Union will consider sending a military training mission to Mozambique to help the government withstand a growing insurgency, and Portugal is already sending troops, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday.

Mozambique's government has been facing an Islamist insurgency since 2017 and rebels have stepped up attacks in the past year, threatening natural gas projects that are aimed at transforming the impoverished country's economy.

Mozambique wrote to the EU last year to ask for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency, and Borrell said it was important for the bloc to make up its mind quickly. EU defence ministers discussed the possibility of a mission in Brussels on Thursday, but took no decision.

"The Mozambique government has been asking for help, we will try to send a training order to contain the security situation," Borrell said. Asked if a force could be sent by the end of this year, Borrell said such a time horizon was too long and that the EU should act sooner.

"If we are not able to send the mission by the end of this year, I would not consider this as a good result. I would hope we would do it before," he told a news conference.

Borrell said any mission would be similar to the EU's involvement in West Africa's Sahel region, where its experts provide training and advice to national security forces that are grappling with Islamist insurgencies.

READ | Palma town remains traumatised weeks after deadly jihadist attack in northern Mozambique

He also clarified that the mission to Mozambique, if agreed, would be a military, rather than civilian mission, meaning armed forces from EU states would send military instructors.

European soldiers would also need to be prepared to guard troops against attacks in so-called force protection.

"Portugal has already offered half of the staff and sent military instructors but that has to be considered as an advance to be integrated into a European Union training mission if we finally agree," Borrell said.

"The political will is there," he said.

Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony.

Since 2007, the 27-nation EU has had battlegroups of 1,500 personnel on stand-by that can be deployed for up to 120 days, but they have never been used.

The EU is also looking into the creation of a rapid response force of some 5,000 soldiers to intervene in international crises, although the plans are only at a conceptual stage and would not be ready to support Mozambique.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
When and why would you have your or your partner's sperm count checked?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
That's an unnecessary procedure
17% - 695 votes
As soon as we decide to start a family
7% - 305 votes
Only if we're struggling to conceive
76% - 3212 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo