Mozambique: Police And Military Fight Over Who Controls The War - And Contracts

Entering Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique.

The riot police and the Ministry of Interior are running the Cabo Delgado war,  but the army and Defence Ministry are fighting to take over. Always known collectively as the Defence & Security Forces (Forças de Defesa e Segurança - FDS), under Nyusi it was the paramilitary riot police (UIR, Unidade de Intervencao Rapida) that had the senior position and did the key fighting, from the 2013-15 fighting with Renamo and continuing in Cabo Delgado. The new turf war was reported by Africa Monitor (Lisbon, 12 June). The struggle appears to be about trust and money .

The goal is to control foreign military support, which could involve lucrative contracts. Police General Commander Bernardino Rafael signed the contract with South African mercenary company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) to supply the helicopters, light planes and drone now in use in Cabo Delgado. Africa Monitor ays that DAG is contracted to supply six combat helicopters, which are currently in use in Libya, leased to Eric Prince's Frontier Services Group. Prince also has companies in South Africa. Military chiefs say that Rafael and DAG are using the wrong type of equipment, simply adapted from civilian helicopters. The say in the attack on Macomia, the helicopters had to keep interrupting their missions to fly 100 km back to Pemba for refuelling. Currently Mozambique has only one attack helicopter of its own, a Russian-built MI-8, and the military say it would be sensible to buy more equipment for the military to allow it to fight the war.

The military point to the close Frelimo network. Nyusi, Rafael, and Cabo Delgado big man Alberto Chipande are all Macondi from Mueda. Interior Minister Amade Miquidade has military experience and headed UIR. Africa Monitor says Miquidade, in turn, has close economic and security business links with former president Joaquim Chissano and with former security minister Mariano Matsinhe. Africa Monitor claims Matsinhe, in turn, has links with the multinational security company G4S and with Eric Prince.

On the other side, Nyusi does not trust the military. In February he sent a team of close confidants to investigate, who reported both that senior military were lying to the president, but also that information on military plans was leaking to the insurgents, Africa Monitor says. In January, Nyusi appointed Jaime Neto as Defence Minister. Neto has no military experience, and comes from Vilankulo, Inhambane. This could be interpreted as a way to keep the military weak and subordinate and away from the Macondi group controlling the police.

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