BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union defense ministers on Thursday were discussing plans to set up a military training mission in Mozambique in the coming months to help the government there take control of parts of the southern African country held by extremist rebels.
The U.N. World Food Program recently warned that the humanitarian crisis caused by the extremist insurgency in the north of Mozambique is rapidly spiraling, with more than 950,000 people in urgent need of food aid.
The French energy firm Total said late last month that it had halted all operations on its $20 billion investment in a liquefied natural gas project in northern Mozambique due to the rebel offensive.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels that developments in the country are becoming “more and more an issue of concern.”
“The Mozambique government has been asking for help. We will try to send a training mission (like) the one we have in the Sahel in order to contain the security situation,” Borrell said. Since 2013, the EU has been helping to train Mali’s army and rebuild its defense institutions in a noncombat mission.
Such a mission in Mozambique could be launched in the second half of 2021 and the 27-nation bloc is weighing whether to supply the army there with military equipment.
The 16-nation Southern African Development Community is also weighing whether to send more than 2,500 regional troops to Mozambique to help battle the rebels.