Fresh attacks in Mozambique as SA military company's contract comes to an end

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Soldiers from the Mozambican army patrol the streets on 7 March 2018 in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique.
Soldiers from the Mozambican army patrol the streets on 7 March 2018 in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique.
PHOTO: Adrien Barbier/AFP
  • There have been fresh attacks in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province.
  • It happened on the same day that Total resumed its liquefied natural gas operations in the area.
  • The SA private military company, Dyck Advisory Group, has finished its 12-month contract in Mozambique. 

South African private military company, Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), is set to end its involvement in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado from 6 April, Mozambican news site Zitamar News reported.

DAG founder Lionel Dyck confirmed to News24 the contract has ended.

"We have done 12 months," he said.

He added there was no option of renewal "yet", as the Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (FADM) had new equipment.

Zitamar reports sources as saying that air support would be provided by Mozambican military helicopters, which were recently acquired from South African-based arms manufacturer, Paramount.

These are set to be flown by Mozambican pilots, trained by Paramount at its Top Gun Pilot Training Academy in Polokwane, and its Dubai-based partner company, Burnham global.

DAG was criticised in a recent Amnesty International report for allegedly indiscriminately firing on insurgents and civilians alike in the area.

Nobody in the South African government has, as yet, responded to queries over how DAG is regulated and why it was allowed to operate, in spite of what has been alleged in the report. 

Unlike DAG, which was employed by the ministry of the interior to support police operations in Cabo Delgado, Paramount was contracted by the ministry of defence to train pilots from the Mozambican military and to support military operations, Zitamar reported.

There were reports of surprise attacks late on Wednesday in and around Palma, which is about 50km from the border with Tanzania.

Reports from the ground said the insurgents, identified as the local Daesh group, had "new weapons", and they weren't using ones stolen from the FADM, as they had in the past.

They reportedly targeted hotels, banks, security units and the central camp of the police's rapid intervention unit, and fighting reportedly took place in the village.

The attacks happened on the same day that Total announced that its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will be resuming construction activities at the Afungi site after it implemented additional security measures.

The company stopped activities after violence broke out near its site in December and the Mozambican government has declared the area within a 25km perimeter around Total's LNG project as a "special security area".

It will be patrolled and secured by public security forces assigned by the Mozambican ministries of defence and the interior.

Total said it "does not use the services of any armed private security providers".

"A comprehensive roadmap, including the reinforcement of the security infrastructure and the strengthening of the public security forces, has been defined and implemented, allowing a gradual remobilisation of the project workforce and the resumption of LNG plant construction activities as well as community development programmes carried out by the project," it said in a statement.

Over 600 000 people have fled the upsurge of violence since last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross said this week in a statement.

"This has contributed to services, including medical care, being overwhelmed," it said.

The violence in Cabo Delgado started soon after the discovery of natural gas off the coast. 

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