The sending of around 60 Portuguese military personnel to form Mozambican special forces may have been read as a response to last week’s terrorist attack in the village of Palma, in the province of Cabo Delgado. However, Augusto Santos Silva’s announcement on Monday only confirmed (in approximate numbers) the reinforcement of technical-military cooperation that his Defense colleague had already mentioned in early February. João Gomes Cravinho then said that the contingent would advance predictably in April.
The Government has been cautious in its statements on the matter: the cooperation aims to provide Mozambican forces with “the characteristics necessary for the performance of sovereignty in their own country,” said Gomes Cravinho in February. Santos Silva was mandated by the European Union (EU) to prepare European aid to Mozambique, having visited the country in January. This week, asked on RTP whether the Government was considering more robust cooperation – not just training – to crack down on terrorists in Cabo Delgado, the head of diplomacy recalled that the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, was “absolutely clear” when he said that “ it is the Mozambican soldiers who have to defend the Mozambican land ”.
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