Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi is set to arrive in Tanzania on Monday to discuss the Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado, home to Mozambique's huge liquefied natural gas developments.
The planned two-day visit at the invitation of Tanzania's President John Magufuli came days after a senior official from the US Department of Defense (DoD) met Mozambique government counterparts in Maputo to offer support to counter the insurgents.
Nyusi and Magufuli “should address as their main theme of work the combination of efforts to effectively face the phenomenon of terrorism which has affected both countries, with an impact on the region”, said a statement from the Mozambican presidency.
Nyusi is being accompanied by other officials, including the commander general of the police, Bernardino Rafael, and the head of the northern operational theatre, Major-General Eugenio Mussa.
Anthony Tata, meanwhile, who is performing the duties of the US under-secretary of defence for policy, flew into Maputo on 8 January and had a meeting with Mozambique’s Minister of Defence, Jaime Neto, and Interior Minister Amade Miquidade.
Looking to bring regional stability
According to a statement issued by the DoD, Tata highlighted Washington’s interest “in growing its partnership with Mozambique to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism in northern Mozambique”.
“Parties reviewed the ongoing security situation in northern Mozambique, where ISIS-linked groups have contributed to the killing of over 2000 people and displacement of over 500,000 people,” the statement said.
Tata discussed potential DoD training for the Mozambique military “to improve its capability to defeat ISIS and bring stability to the region”.
Both sides agreed on the importance of identifying needs in the areas of equipment and services, including strategic planning to counter this threat.
Tata subsequently flew on to Equatorial Guinea for a two-day visit. He met President Obiang Nguema and the vice president, plus the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, national security and health.
The DoD said Tata discussed “the rules and norms that would need to guide a defense relationship going forward, including continued progress on trafficking in persons, successful human rights vetting of security forces... and avoiding certain harmful security engagements”.
Tata also shared his views on the activities of China and Russia in Africa.
“While the US does not oppose activities that adhere to transparent international standards, concerns are raised when security engagements fall short of international standards, compromise sovereignty or impact our shared security interests,” the DoD said.
Maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea were also discussed, with piracy being a shared area of concern for potential future co-operation.