Mozambique has written a letter to European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to ask for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency. In the letter, Mozambique — which is a former Portuguese colony — also requested medical equipment and humanitarian assistance to help victims of the conflict,
An EU Spokesperson confirmed that “The government of Mozambique and the EU have opened a policy dialogue, with a focus on humanitarian, development and security issues in Cabo Delgado, adding the bloc is ready to discuss “options for assistance”.
The EU will “review all available means of support in the light of the outcome of the dialogue”, he said.
Since 2017, Islamist militants have carried out deadly attacks against the military and local residents in Cabo Delgado, killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands. The attacks have stepped up in the last few months. In March 2020, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson of the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) stated that armed groups have been randomly targeting local villages and terrorizing the local population. There have been increasing reports of beheadings, kidnappings and disappearances of women and children and UNHCR estimates that attacks have now spread across nine out of the 16 districts in Cabo Delgado.
Several radical militant groups have been active in Cabo Delgado in recent years, including Ansar al-Sunna, which has been responsible for dozens of terror attacks against civilians and government forces in northern Mozambique.