MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE - For the first time, Mozambique's Defense Minister Cristovao Chume has asked foreign military personnel stationed in the country to share their knowledge with Mozambique's security forces to help end violent extremism.
Chume told reporters Thursday in Maputo that his country wants the new military attaches of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Portugal and Ukraine to share their experiences to aid the fight against the Islamist insurgency that has raged in oil-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017.
In the past, officials have said the situation in Cabo Delgado was under control.
Chume said the African continent is faced with the challenges of terrorism and other transnational crimes, which require a collective effort by states to eradicate. He asked that the new defense attaches work to streamline the ongoing cooperation between nations and discuss new opportunities that are of common interest to them all.
Mozambique has not been open about requesting assistance to fight the insurgency, mainly fought between militant Islamists and jihadists attempting to establish an Islamic state in the region, and Mozambican security forces.
Civilians, public institutions and private vehicles have been the main targets of terrorist attacks.
Chume said a multifaceted approach that consists of a military response and the implementation of local development programs in the affected areas is needed to eradicate terrorism.
In the military response, he said, the government has the support of the Defense Forces of Rwanda and of the regional Southern African Development Community's mission. Likewise, he said, the country is benefiting from the support in terms of training provided by the United States and European Union, which has increased the combat capacity of Mozambique's defense and security forces.
FILE - Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi speaks during Armed Forces Day celebrations in Pemba, Mozambique, Sept. 25, 2021.
Meanwhile, in New York on Thursday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi told a meeting of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission that Mozambique, with the help of other countries, needs to do more to fight terrorists.
Mozambique holds the rotating U.N. Security Council presidency for March and Nyusi was reported by state-run Radio Mozambique as saying fighting continues in Cabo Delgado.
Terrorism is not yet over in Mozambique, he said, and though the terrorists are fragile, they are active, looking for new ways of acting and trying to win the minds of the population, especially young people.
The insurgency has claimed thousands of lives since it broke out in 2017 and has disrupted multibillion-dollar natural gas projects.