The United States Special Operations Forces is training “Mozambican marines” who are to fight against the al Shabaab insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province.
This was announced by US Embassy in Maputo on March 15th.
“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. In addition to training, the U.S. government provided medical and communications equipment.
The United States prioritizes the respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and engagement with civil society in all security assistance. 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. 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.”
So far, the training has led to little result, as attacks are still commonplace.
Al-Shabaab have been sowing terror for more than three years in the strategic province of Cabo Delgado, which borders Tanzania and is an area that is rich in natural gas.
In 2019 al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“In addition to the training, the US government provided medical and communications equipment,” the embassy said, adding that the American forces who will partake in the program called “Joint Combined Exchange Training” are already in Mozambique.
The move comes as the US designated rebel groups in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo as foreign terrorist organizations.
The conflict reached a symbolic turning point at the end of December with attacks carried out for the first time just a few kilometers from a multibillion-euro gas project operated by the French oil and gas company Total.
As such, the turning point wasn’t the thousands of people that were displaced and killed, by potential damage to a billion-dollar project.
Islamists have frequently beheaded civilians, including women and children.
One mother told BBC she had to watch helplessly as her 12-year-old son was killed in this way close to where she was hiding with her other children.
More than 2,500 people have been killed and 700,000 have fled their homes since an Islamist insurgency began in 2017.
In November 2020, state media reported that more than 50 people had been beheaded at a football ground in Cabo Delgado.
In April 2020, dozens more were beheaded or shot dead in an attack on a village.
Mozambique’s government has appealed for international help to quell the insurgency.
What they got was a small-scale training program from the US.
The insurgency is gaining speed and is carrying out frequent attacks and sowing chaos.
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