1. Another SA “Security Contractor” Involved in Cabo Delgado

The most recent helicopter operator active in Mozambique is Archipelago. Like DAG, Panzer and Paramount Group, it is registered and based in South Africa. Archipelego Charters is a charter company that uses aircrafts provided by National Airways Corporation (NAC). Archipelago is wholly owned by Schalk Theron.

The make-up of National Airways Corporation is as follows:

  • Laurence “Larry” Nestadt: Chairperson: He is director, executive/ non-executive chairperson, Member and Director of numerous entities that cover all different sectors. He is the non-executive director of Dischem, non-executive director of Blue Label telecoms, a member of Lloyd’s of London, a member of World Presidents Organization, a director at Cell C and dozens of other companies that run the gamut from property development and management, telecommunications and finance. He is also, notably, the chairperson of Global Capital, the entity that holds a majority stake in NAC. Further information on his many business dealings can be found here:

https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/ZA/XJSE/DCP/company-people/executive-profile/15105256

  • David Vinokur: Director: He is also the CEO of Global Capital
  • Redmond Trevor Fowle: Executive director Helicopter maintenance NAC
  • Martin Stewart Banner: director and CEO of NAC
  • Jacobus Phillipus Fourie: director- he is also the CEO of an entity entitled Author, based in George. Executive Director- aircraft division NAC
  • Andrew James Dunn: Director
  • Gary Craig Irving Phillips: Also Executive Director Helicopter Division NAC
  • Jannie de Klerk: Executive director Flight Operations NAC
  • Hendrik Petrus Smit: director: executive director finance

Further, NAC as a company has its majority shareholding held by Global Capital, a venture capital firm, of which David Vinokur is the CEO and Laurence Nestadt is the chairman, making Laurence the chairperson of these two interrelated companies.

It seems that the entry of Archipelago into Mozambique is a collaborative effort amongst South African companies to gain as much traction in Mozambican military exercises as possible. This we see by Archipelago, a company owned that is essentially a 3rd party leaser, entering into agreements for leasing of helicopters and air support with DAG, a South African PMC. The air support is meant to aid DAG in its efforts to stop and push back insurgents, as they’ve been contracted to do by Filipe Nyusi’s government. This has further gone to entrench the involvement of South African companies in a foreign conflict, in direct violation of the Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and regulation of Certain Activities of Armed Conflict Act 27 of 2006.

The NPA, together with the Hawks, have already begun to investigate the involvement of SA companies in this conflict, and have stated that those involved are contravening South African law, as nobody has permission, under Act 27, to be involved in Mozambique. So far, there hasn’t been direct confirmation of Archipelagos aircraft being used in the fighting, but they will definitely soon become a part of the counter terrorism landscape in Mozambique.

  1. Nampula Humanitarian Crisis Worsens

Following our photo reportage last week of the Corrane reception camp in Nampula, Archbishop Inacio Saure writes the following:

“It was  with tiredness that I sent the photos of the day of my visit to the resettlement of war displaced people in Corrane and, showing the buried truck that was taking the food for distribution, I implicitly underlined the aspect of the lack of food. Now I add another comment. Another great lament is the lack of minimal basic medicines at the small health first aid post. Cases of malaria prevail (one of the means of combating this disease in Mozambique is mosquito nets which, from time to time, public health services have distributed free of charge to the most disadvantaged populations, but which in that resettlement of displaced people have never been distributed!). When a patient comes to the emergency room with signs of malaria, the refrain of the health worker on duty is always the same: we don’t have tests, we don’t have drugs. And the patient has no alternative but to wait for God to take care of everything!

The widespread famine in the population of Corrane is aggravating all the misery of resettlement. Many people who attended the distribution of food to the displaced, are residents of the neighboring village of MUKUPASA. Every time an institution arrives to distribute goods, they flock to the place, perhaps in the hope that there will be something left that can be given to them. But, unfortunately, they always return empty-handed, tired of looking in vain. Once the Archdiocesan Caritas went to distribute some food to that population, which was like a drop of water in the ocean!

  1. Situation Update

Insurgents struck throughout Nangade district last week, nearly isolating Nangade town in a series of attacks. On 2 March, more insurgent roadblocks sprang up near Muiha village, in the northwest of Nangade district, near where the borders separating Nangade, Mueda, and Tanzania meet. Insurgents were also seen the same day in the countryside just west of Muiha, where they chased farmers from their fields. The incursions west of Muiha are the farthest west incidents in Cabo Delgado involving insurgent fighters yet recorded.

To the east, insurgents once again attacked the border post of Namoto, Palma district on the night of 2 March. Despite a military unit being deployed to protect the area after it was attacked on 27 February, insurgents were able to loot the area and burn the border post to the ground. Helicopters evacuated border police shortly after the attack began, and no casualties have been reported.

The next day, insurgents ambushed a military vehicle traveling on the R763 from Nangade town to Mueda. Three soldiers were killed – a lieutenant colonel and two enlisted men.

The same day, insurgents killed two civilians from the same family in the village of N’gangolo, which sits on the R763 south of Litingina. That night, insurgents raided the village of Samora Machel, east of Litingina.

Insurgents attacked the village of 3 de Fevereiro, 9 kilometers east of the district capital. Most civilians had fled to Nangade town before the attack, but they could see the smoke from 3 de Fevereiro as insurgents burned homes in the village. Insurgents also returned to Samora Machel that night, but, again, no details of the attack emerged.

On 6 March, government forces attacked an insurgent encampment at Nkonga, in eastern Nangade district near the border with Mocimboa da Praia. The village had been deserted following insurgent attacks in the area, and insurgents had commandeered it as a place to hold hostages and stockpile looted goods. Supported by five helicopters, government troops assaulted the village and killed and captured multiple insurgents. Goods looted from Nangade district were recovered, and hostages taken by insurgents during their Nangade raids were freed.

  1. Government And DAG Respond To Amnesty International Report Documenting Atrocities

The government commented on allegations against state security forces in last week’s Amnesty International report. General Bertolino Capitine, speaking with reporters during a tour of Cabo Delgado denied that Mozambican forces had engaged in any war crimes. The denial is not believable, given the clear evidence to the contrary found in the Amnesty International report and other sources.

The same week DAG announced that it would launch an investigation into the charges leveled against it in the Amnesty International report — which included allegations of indiscriminately dropping hand grenades from helicopters on civilian infrastructure — new images emerged suggesting that the company could be using barrel bombs in Cabo Delgado. The photos show makeshift bombs fashioned inside propane tanks, some of which were loaded into the cockpit of a DAG helicopter. There have been no reports of bombs of that size exploding in the conflict zone thus far. However, if they were used in an area with civilian infrastructure, it would contravene international law.

The Mozambican military has reportedly augmented the aerial capability DAG provides to government forces by acquiring two SA 341B Gazelle helicopters from Paramount Group in South Africa. The Gazelles, the same type of aircraft DAG primarily uses, were seen at the Nacala airport in February, painted in the camouflage pattern of the Mozambican air force. Per the reported terms of the contract between the Mozambican military and Paramount, two more Gazelles should soon follow. The Mozambican air force’s existing helicopter fleet is made up of aging Mi-24s that require constant maintenance.

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