Maputo — United States Special Operations Forces have begun to train Mozambican marines, according to a press release from the US embassy.
The release said that on Monday, the Mozambican and US governments launched a two-month Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) programme. In this programme, for the next two months, the US special forces will train Mozambican marines in order "to support Mozambique's efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism".
At the opening ceremony, the US Department of Defence was represented by Colonel Richard Schmidt, the Deputy Commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). A former inspector of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM), Maj-Gen Ramiro Ramos Tulcidás, represented the Mozambican Defence Ministry.
According to the embassy, in addition to training, the US government is providing the Mozambican marines with medical and communications equipment.
"The United States prioritizes the respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and engagement with civil society in all security assistance", the embassy release said. "The United States is committed to supporting Mozambique with a multifaceted and holistic approach to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism."
"This approach addresses socioeconomic development issues as well as the security situation", it added. "Civilian protection, human rights, and community engagement are central to U.S. cooperation and are foundational to effectively counter the Islamic State in Mozambique."
This assistance follows last week's designation by the US government of the jihadist groups operating in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as "terrorist organisations".
According to the US State Department, the practical result of these designations is that "all property and interests in property of those designated that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them".
Furthermore, any financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate any significant transaction on behalf of these groups could be subject to U.S. sanctions.