Mozambique: Military Training Needed to Face New Threats - Guebuza

Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza warned on Thursday that the country is facing new threats to its sovereignty such as piracy, human trafficking and the pillaging of natural resources.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Higher Institute of Defence Studies (ISEDEF), located at Infulene, in the southern city of Matola, Guebuza insisted that military training remains necessary “to deal with these multiple challenges and threats, and to guarantee the defence and consolidation of our sovereignty and the pursuit of our national agenda in the struggle against poverty”.

“It is unthinkable, and our self-esteem would never consent to it, that the defence of our sovereignty could, at any time, be entrusted to third parties” stressed Guebuza. “That would be a negation of our condition as a sovereign state, as a people who knew who to struggle to be lord of its own destinies”.

This duty, he added, “requires a substantial increase in our military resources and military training is fundamental in this regard”.

The new institute, Guebuza said, “is an unequivocal restatement of the government's will to respond to the challenges posed by the new threats to our sovereignty”.

Some of the older, more direct threats to sovereignty persisted, as exemplified by the ambushes mounted by gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo on the main north-south road and against other targets in Sofala province. But Guebuza hoped this could be solved through dialogue.

To a large extent, he said, this type of threat was now being replaced by less direct threats - such as maritime piracy, cybercrime, trafficking in people, drugs and guns, and “illegal immigration with criminal contours”.

Mozambique ran the risk that its resources, on land and on sea, could be looted, particularly given the length of its maritime and terrestrial frontiers.

The government, he continued, recognised the need to provide the armed forces (FADM) with the resources that would allow them to overcome the difficulties resulting from Mozambique's geography. And although he recognised that the performance of the FADM would always be “limited and insufficient in the face of these diffuse threats”, that was no reason to remain “indifferent or resigned”.

ISEDEF, Guebuza continued, was part of “an integrated response to the new demands”.

Today the threats to Mozambican sovereignty have multiplied and changed in nature “and this logically requires the training and specialization of an ever larger number of officers”.

The new threats “require a search for answers which should be undertaken in this institute”. ISEDEF, Guebuza added, should not merely repeat what had been researched elsewhere, since “national reality must be the beacon and the target of our studies”.

Some of the courses, such as the training for battalion commanders, are specifically for military personnel. But ISEDEF will also offer masters' degrees in such subjects as Law and Security, the Military History of Mozambique, and the History of the Liberation Movements, for which civilians will also be eligible to enroll.

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