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Thread: Mozambique (catch all)

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mozambique (catch all)

    Tension has been mounting in Mozambique, although only last week did I spot a Reuters report on an attack on government soldiers and now the elected government (FRELIMO) has responded an attack on the opposition's (RENAMO) mountain refuge:
    Mozambique's opposition Renamo movement has ended a 1992 peace accord after government forces attacked the jungle base of its leader, Afonso Dhlakama......A force of about 300 Renamo men has remained armed since the peace accord, despite efforts to integrate them into the army or police force.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24615549

    The ex-Portuguese colony gained independence in 1974, FRELIMO taking power and then faced an externally supported insurgency by RENAMO till an internal peace settlement in 1992 (support came from Rhodesia till 1979 and then South Africa). Mr Dhlakama took 16.5% of the vote in an election in 2009, the fourth time he had lost, and an election is due next year.

    In a 2007 post Rex Brynen commented:
    How has Mozambique sustained democracy since 1992, despite having experienced bitter anti-colonial (1962-75) and civil (1975-92) war that left left almost a million people dead through its direct and indirect consequences? Six years later this question has become pertinent sadly
    Suspected Renamo guerrillas killed seven Mozambican soldiers in an ambush on Thursday near the former rebel group's remote mountain hideout, local media said, the latest flare-up in a simmering insurgency..Analysts say this year's attacks are a reaction to it being pushed into political and economic obscurity by Frelimo, which is expected to dominate municipal elections due next month and nationwide elections in just over a year.

    Link:http://mobile.reuters.com/article/id...31017?irpc=932
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-21-2013 at 11:12 PM.
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  2. #2
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Default

    Theoretically, the Mozambiquan military should be ready.

    They have spent quite a lot in recent years, have trained a lot, and even resurrected their air force. After years of virtual non-existence, this is now flying four ex-Portuguese Cessna FB.337s...
    http://www.emfa.pt/www/po/coopmo/galeria-018.001

    ...one An-26B...
    http://s18.postimg.org/6z5pc1321/0000081124_large.jpg

    ...and had two MiG-21UMs overhauled in Romania (and then returned to Maputo on board of this Il-76, on 14 September):
    http://www.photoavia.net/photo/view?...=1622&o=-added

    **********

    BTW, should there be a serious war, then it's more likely to become quite a large one, perhaps as massive as the war back in the 1980s. For a very good source of reference in this regards, see:
    http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/batt...ozambique.html
    Last edited by CrowBat; 10-22-2013 at 10:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    An Africa watcher noted:
    Oil in Mozambique was a forerunner to trouble. I wonder where RENAMO got their new uniforms and arms?
    Crowbat's observations are more recent than the IISS Military Balance, which shows the army is 9-10k, with less than 10% of equipment working and one wonders how two attack helicopters will make a difference.

    I too recall the FRELIMO-RENAMO conflict many years ago, although I do not have the cited book. Earlier books, from the Rhodesian era refer to the skill of FRELIMO at times in countering incursions. At one point in the period the UK sponsored an infantry battalion to protect the railway IIRC to Malawi.

    It will be interesting to see if those RENAMO fighters who did integrate into the national security forces remain loyal - at least Mozambique has better economic prospects, so may be able to retain loyalty by buying it.
    davidbfpo

  4. #4
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Why now RENAMO?

    A blogger's commentary, which IMO provides more than found to date and one key passage:
    Why is that after 20 years of peace in the country, Renamo decided to threat the recommencement of hostilities? Mozambique has been through a decade of positive economic growth (around 4% a year). Nonetheless, such growth has failed to be translated into economic development. In fact, the majority of Mozambique’s population lives in poverty and is mostly agrarian. Therefore, there is here an element of grievance from the population towards the Frelimo-led government; but, is lack of economic development and social well-being sufficient for people, or an armed faction, to take up arms? .....It is of my opinion that it has to do with the recent natural gas discoveries, which if successfully explored will put Mozambique in the world’s top league of natural-gas exporters. Such an industry will bring massive flows of investment and revenue into the country. Bearing in consideration that in sub-Saharan Africa the rule is ‘access to power means full access to resources’, political office becomes even more attractive.
    Link:http://eastandsouth.wordpress.com/20...-on-the-brink/
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Here we go:
    Mozambique army raids more Renamo hideouts

    BTW, should this become a serious campaign, expect the Zimbabweans to get involved too. The Beira corridor - the corridor connecting the port of Beira with Zimbabwean border, where there is also a major railway line - is of vital importance for that land-locked country, and there is no way they'll ignore any kind of threats for it.

    Back in the mid-1980s, Zimbabweans were crucial in fighting RENAMO (and, thanks to their traditions from Rhodesian times, and additional training by Pakistanis, also far more successful than the government forces). Nowadays they are usually either completely ignored, or much underestimated in the West. However, they have one of most professional and best trained militaries in Sub-Saharan Africa, a well developed COIN doctrine, and - most importantly - plenty of relevant and recent experience (from Congo, 1998-2003; namely, Zims tend to serve with the military for very long, because it's one of last 'decent' jobs in that country).

  6. #6
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default From the jungle to the beach

    It appears that RENAMO activities have spread from the interior, possibly alongside criminal kidnappers:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/tr...e-tourism.html

    The (UK) Foreign Office warns that:
    the situation in Sofala Province remains tense and on October 22 there were reports of armed attacks in the region, including against a vehicle travelling on the EN1 road. Further attacks can’t be ruled out. There have also been reports of violent clashes between government forces and Renamo in Manica and Nampula provinces, and an armed attack on a civilian vehicle travelling along the E8 road between Nampula and Malema. Take extra care when travelling by road outside urban areas in the affected provinces.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default An unknown 'Small War' may end

    Note the last post was in November 2013. Just caught an update via Twitter:
    A sense of calm has descended on Mozambique after long-standing civil war foes the Mozambique National Resistance Movement (Renamo) guerrillas and the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) government agreed to a new year ceasefire.
    Link:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/relative-calm-descends-mozambique-optimism-grows-long-lasting-truce-1598541?

    The article implies there has been an insurgency since mid-2015, which I had not spotted - hence the title.

    I note the apparent map of AFRICOM's SOF activity does not include Mozambique:https://theintercept.com/2016/12/31/...s-shadow-wars/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-02-2017 at 01:53 PM. Reason: 7,226v
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    Default What could go wrong: bankers and spooks borrow $2billion

    Sad tale how Mozambique's security agency negotiated a US$2billion loan, on the expectation of wealth from natural gas offshore and failed to tell anyone. The result:
    ... has caused a fiscal crisis that means interest on loans, civil service new year bonuses and other government bills was not paid this month.
    Link:https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...es-debt-crisis

    Might this factor in trying to get peace with Renamo?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-27-2017 at 10:15 AM. Reason: 8,490v 1200 in 3 weeks.
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  9. #9
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Northern Mozambique: a small Islamist war?

    Northern Mozambique rarely gets any coverage, but an odd South African press report, since denied officially, a few days ago suggests that a 'small war' is underway and a little digging found more.

    Some context from an October 2017 commentary helps:
    Cabo Delgado is a Muslim-majority province where discoveries of giant oil and gas reserves have brought international conglomerates and their private security, making the area a potential powder-keg. On top of this, the area is desperately poor. Northern areas of Mozambique have gained little from the economic boom of the 2000s. Mocimboa da Praia is a case in point: little development has been seen even as expectations exploded following the discovery of massive gas and oil reserves in the province. Billions of dollars have been invested in offshore drilling, with little benefit to local communities.
    Link:https://theconversation.com/why-isla...zambique-85504

    The odd, if not strange South African report started with:
    It is believed that the group headed to Nacala to bolster the Isis stronghold at the port where containers laden with drugs are offloaded monthly from cargo ships.

    According to well-placed intelligence sources, the infiltrators entered from the island of Zanzibar and used Tanzania as springboard to cross the border into Mozambique. There have been numerous prior infiltrations, but this was the largest single group that came into the neighbouring state, the sources indicated.
    Although not confirmed yet, security experts indicated that the jihadists may try to join forces with Renamo rebels in a united front against the Frelimo government, so as to bolster their stand in the neighbouring country.
    Link:https://lowvelder.co.za/429211/isis-...mbique-part-1/

    A new short backgrounder opens with:
    Networks of powerful, politically connected criminal actors have created an enabling environment for an Islamic insurgency in northern Mozambique that is terrorizing local communities and threatening the country’s stability.

    Long before the violence began, the locals had been pleading with Maputo to pay attention to their plight. In the sleepy fishing village of Mocímboa da Praia, in the north of Cabo Delgado Province, they said an Islamist group had established itself in the area. They were taking control of the mosques, or establishing their own, they said, and preaching an anti-state ideology and a strict version of Islam at odds with local values.
    It also comments on the previous press story:
    The real story is that, for over two decades, drug trafficking – and a host of other illicit activities, including wildlife poaching, and smuggling timber and gems – has been allowed to flourish in the north of Mozambique, under full view of the authorities and local inhabitants. Certain groups have seen to it that the border and ports are permeable to all kinds of contraband. Businessmen, local and foreign, have grown enormously wealthy on the back of this illicit economy, while the local communities have remained, for the most part, desperately poor.
    Link:http://globalinitiative.net/northern...on-corruption/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-29-2018 at 07:00 PM. Reason: 365v before merging. 20,132v today
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  10. #10
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Northern Mozambique: 'jihadists behead' villagers

    A very short BBC report based on AFP:
    One of the victims of the weekend attack was the leader of Monjane village, a local resident told the AFP news agency."They targeted the chief as he had been providing information to the police about the location of al-Shabab in forests," he is quoted as saying.
    Then as background it cites a source, which alas is a series of PPT in Portuguese by a UK academic expert on the region:
    Recent academic research... found that early members of the group, sometimes also called al-Sunna, were followers of a radical Kenyan preacher who was killed in 2012.His followers moved south and settled in Kibiti in southern Tanzania, near the border with Mozambique.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44289512
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-01-2018 at 09:59 AM. Reason: 20,292v today
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Two detailed, good reads

    Via a South African newspaper website an article from Mozambique itself, referring to a study (see next paragraph) and the article has more background facts - so worth a read.
    Link:https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/arti...mpression=true

    Link to the study, which is translated into English and uses the title:
    Al Shabaab Mozambique are marginalized youth that create instability for illicit trade of wood, ivory and rubies of their leaders
    Link:http://www.verdade.co.mz/tema-de-fundo/35/65831
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  12. #12
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mozambique’s mysterious insurgency

    A South African newspaper article that asks what is going on. Id'd via Twitter where author, Simon Allison points out:
    No one has a clue what is driving the violence in northern Mozambique. But mixing Islamist militants, trigger-happy soldiers, vast reserves of natural gas and Erik Prince (of Blackwater infamy) seems like a terrible idea.
    It ends with:
    Northern Mozambique is a powder keg. Whatever is behind the conflict in the area, there is no doubt that it is a toxic mix. The combination of radical Islamists, American mercenaries, brutal armed groups and trigger-happy soldiers is one we have seen before, in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia and Libya, with devastating consequences.Vast quantities of high-grade hydrocarbons won’t help either, nor will a government that is as corrupt as it is dysfunctional. But before anyone can begin to grapple with the problems, they need to understand the nature of the threat. So far, the rumours far outweigh the research.
    Link:https://mg.co.za/article/2018-06-22-...ous-insurgency
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-22-2018 at 10:10 AM. Reason: 21,013v
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  13. #13
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Uberization of Mozambique's heroin trade

    A short open source paper 'The Uberization of Mozambique's heroin trade' by a known SME, Joseph Hanlon, via LSE, London. His conclusion opens with:
    Mozambique is an important heroin transit country, with a heroin trail that goes Afghanistan-Pakistan-Mozambique-South Africa-Europe. An estimated 10-40 tonnes or more of heroin passes through each year. This could be adding $100 million per year in corrupt money to the local economy, and is clearly having an impact on an already corrupted state.The trade seems to be increasing as crackdowns in Kenya and Tanzania are diverting heroin through Mozambique.
    Link:http://www.lse.ac.uk/international-d...pers/WP190.pdf

    This helps to explain several large seizures of heroin on dhows along the East African coast which appear in the thread for Tanzania.
    Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ania-catch-all

    It may contribute to the reported insurgency as a corrupted, weak state is likely.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2018 at 03:29 PM. Reason: 21,418v
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  14. #14
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mozambique: Counting attacks and arrests diverts quest for stability and development

    An update on the situation by a local, though not from Mozambique:https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/arti...-cabo-delgado/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 1 Week Ago at 09:45 PM. Reason: 23,195v today
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    Default Mozambique’s Next Step in Countering Violent Extremism

    A new article from The Wilson Centre (in the USA).

    A few passages:
    The experts, meanwhile, have warned against repression and advocated for ‘soft measures,’ to little discernable effect. The sum total is discouraging. One observer recently compared Northern Mozambique to Northeastern Nigeria at the beginning of the Boko Haram uprising.

    Mozambique may represent a new pattern as well. As Islamist militancy continues to spread across Africa, it is moving beyond hotspot countries—Nigeria, Somalia, Libya, Mali—and their immediate neighborhoods. Violent extremism is now reaching peripheral Muslim communities that, as a small fraction of an overall national population, are ancillary political players and something of an afterthought for the central government.
    Link:https://africaupclose.wilsoncenter.o...ent-extremism/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 2 Days Ago at 04:50 PM. Reason: 23,435v today
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  16. #16
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    Default Tanzania arrests 104 people for plotting 'radical camps' in Mozambique

    A Reuters report on Tanzanian action, based on official statement(s) and includes this, possibly new information:
    Earlier this month, Mozambique put 189 people, including foreigners, on trial on accusations of involvement in Islamist attacks in Cabo Delgado.
    Link:https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ta...-idUKKCN1MU0N1

    Interesting to note Tanzania has a large natural gas field offshore that awaits investment.
    davidbfpo

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