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Africa

EU agrees to send military training mission to Mozambique

2 minute read

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) - The European Union will set up a military training mission in Mozambique to help the government tackle a growing Islamist insurgency and to protect civilians, the bloc said on Monday.

Mozambique, which has called on the EU for help, has been grappling with a rebellion in its northernmost province of Cabo Delgado since 2017. Violence has grown significantly in the past year.

EU foreign ministers took the formal decision at a meeting in Brussels on Monday although it was not immediately clear which countries will provide the necessary troops.

"The mandate of the mission will initially last two years," the European Council, representing EU members states, said in a statement

Portugal already sent 60 soldiers to its former colony in May to run a four-month programme training troops to counter the insurgency, share intelligence and use drones to track militants' movements.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that 200-300 personnel could be deployed to Mozambique by the end of the year.

Portugal is prepared to offer 50% of the manpower and will also provide the commander on the ground in Mozambique, where the violence has driven more than 700,000 people from their homes in Cabo Delgado.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Robin Emmott; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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