Portugal to help train Mozambique security forces against militants

Portugal has offered to train the Mozambique security forces to tackle a wave of Islamist militant attacks to the country’s North. A recent surge in violence was witnessed in the country’s Cabo Delgado region. The region is close to the Tanzania border and remains the home of natural gas deposits worth $60 billion. 

Also read: Portugal goes back into lockdown

Military training

Joao Gomes Cravinho, the Portuguese Defence Minister expressed his support for Mozambican authorities to exercise their sovereignty during his trip. He revealed to Lusa news agency a new strategy to train marines, local soldiers, and other forces. 

Mozambique has already requested the EU for help in training its security forces to battle the insurgents. This has alarmed most Southern Africa countries forcing hundreds of thousands to relocate from their homes. 

Also read: Denmark funds Mozambique farming sector

Portugal takes over the European Union presidency this January and is expected to support Maputo’s request. According to the U.S. State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales, the insurgents in Northern Mozambique were an affiliate of the Islamic State and part of the global terrorism threat. 

Spanish assistance

Spain also offered military support to Mozambique in its anti-terrorism effort. Alberto Cerezo, the Spanish ambassador to Mozambique disclosed the Spanish authorities’ interest in military cooperation and antiterrorism where they will share their experiences in antiterrorism. 

Spillover into Tanzania

In early December Mozambique and Tanzania decided to jointly deal with the extremist group that has brought about instability claiming the lives of hundreds between the two countries. This was after the Islamists carried out a daring cross-border raid into Tanzania killing several people.

The violent insurgency has spiraled out of control finding its way North into Tanzania. In a past address, Mozambique's Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho gave the number of internally displaced people at 500,000.