1. US Establishes Military Presence In Mozambique

On March 15, the U.S. Government and the Government of Mozambique launched a two-month Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program.  U.S. Special Operations Forces will train Mozambican marines for two months to support Mozambique’s efforts “to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.” U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) Deputy Commander Colonel Richard Schmidt represented the U.S. Department of Defense  during the opening ceremony, while Major General Ramiro Ramos Tulcidás represented the Government of Mozambique. In addition to training, the U.S. government provides medical and communications equipment.

The beginning of the Marines training program took place five days after the State Department designated the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Mozambique (ISIS-Mozambique) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The State Department has also designated alleged ISIS-Mozambique leader, Abu Yasir Hassan, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, despite offering no evidence as to his actual existence, claiming “security concerns”. According to the State Department, Abu Yasir Hassan, also known by Abu Qim, is a Tanzanian citizen aged between 38 and 40 and is based in Cabo Delgado.

Meanwhile, Tanzanian authorities responded to the designation of the Department of State of the USA stating that it was difficult establish immediately who is Abu Yasir Hassan  “because the one who kept the security records of those involved in such crimes had died ”. The Commander of the Tanzanian Police, Inspector General Simon Sirro, told the press that he had not yet received a report about the US designation, but promised to establish the veracity of the information.

  1. Entry of Yet Another New Player in Cabo Delgado Conflict

The ongoing conflict in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, has in recent weeks seen the entrance of new players in the military operations by Private Military Contractors (PMC’s). Archipelago Charters has partnered with National Airways Corporation to provide additional air support to Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) in their own operations as sanctioned by the national government of Mozambique. Now it has emerged that Paramount Group, a company that works arm in arm with DAG, has purchased a stake in another Private Military Contractor- Burnham Global. Burnham is a Dubai based contractor, utilizing mainly ex UK military to perform their operations. This addition of Burnham to the mix means that the global interest in the ongoing conflict in Mozambique is broadening. According to a statement by Burnham, their purpose in Mozambique is to “effectively counter an ongoing insurgency within its borders”, having entered “a multimillion-dollar contract with an African government to provide a range of military training and advisory services”.

Until now, it had been mainly a regional issue, affecting Mozambicans directly, and fought by South African based PMC’s, but with the involvement of global players like Burnham, it will inevitably provoke an official response by London, or NATO, or both.

As we are seeing already, the USA has decided to stick their fingers in the pot, by sending marines to train and upskill the local military to better combat the insurgents, who the USA have declared an official terrorist organization, with links to ISIS, even though there is almost no direct and provable evidence of this. Now with the involvement of the USA, it can be assumed that the skirmishes will become more pointed, and more violent, as we have seen globally in conflicts where they are involved.

  1. Breakdown of Health Services in Mozambique

With insurgent activity, lagging economic growth, Covid-19 effects and Cyclone Eloise, the healthcare system in Mozambique has passed breaking point.

Over 700 healthcare workers have fled their homes in Cabo Delgado, which is the hotbed of insurgent activity, leaving the population with little to no healthcare amidst a cholera outbreak and famine. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 39 out of 55 health facilities are simply non-operational, many of them having been vandalized and burnt.

According to Peter Maurer, the president of the ICRC “The people of Mozambique are today facing a triple humanitarian crisis with persistent threats due to climate change, an upsurge of violence, the COVID-19 pandemic and cholera.”

The ICRC hopes to be able to rehabilitate and capacitate about nine primary health facilities in Pemba, serving about 174 000 people, among the huge influx of displaced persons to the area, however, these efforts will be hampered by the ever increasing number of migrants, and the every present danger of instability from the insurgents.

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