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The Mozambican defence and security forces on Monday received two maritime patrol boats from India to strengthen their capacity to control the waters in the “Northern Operational Theatre” (essentially Cabo Delgado province, where islamist terrorists have been operating since October 2017).
The two vessels are a donation by the Indian armed forces. Also part of the donation are 500 tonnes of rice, intended for the people displaced by terrorism in Cabo Delgado. The latest figures suggest that the terrorists have displaced over 800,000 people.
India also offered kits to fight against the Covid-19 respiratory disease, which poses a threat to troops in the theatre of operations.
Receiving the boats and the humanitarian aid in Maputo, Defence Minister Cristovao Chume said “these vessels join two others offered by India in 2019 and which are involved right now in logistical support for our forces in the Northern Operational Theatre and in ensuring coastal security”.
Asked by reporters about the current situation in Cabo Delgado and the neighbouring province of Niassa, Chume declined to give details about operations currently under way. “There has been no evolution. The situation remains the same as last week”, he said. “If there are any developments, we shall inform you at the opportune moment”.
The latest publicly known operations included the capture by the Mozambican forces and their allies in the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) of two terrorist bases in Macomia district. During this offensive, which began on 22 November, SAMIM says at least 23 terrorists were killed.
In Niassa, terrorists escaping from the allied forces in Cabo Delgado attacked villages in Mecula district, near the provincial boundary, leading around 3,000 people to seek refuge in Mecula town.
Coastal security is a major concern for the Mozambican forces and their allies. The Indian patrol boats should help prevent supplies from reaching the terrorists by sea. The boats could also act against drug and people traffickers using the Mozambique Channel.
The Indian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Ankan Banerjee, declared “We hope this kind of support will strengthen the bonds of friendship between our peoples and states. We encourage the government to continue working to eradicate terrorism in Mozambique”.