On March 15, the U.S. Government and the Government of Mozambique launched a two-month Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) military training program. Under this program, U.S. Special Operations Forces will train Mozambican marines for two months to support Mozambique’s efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, perpetrated by radical Islamic insurgents in the Cabo Delgado province, the centre stage of several major energy projects set to reshape the country’s development and economic fortunes.
The information has been made public through a note by the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique, and has also been corroborated by U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique, Dennis Walter Hearne, in an interview to a local newspaper.
“The training started today (March 15th). The American Special Operations Forces will train Mozambican Marines for two months. This program is a continuation of the United States’ security cooperation with Mozambique that has existed for some time, which includes military education and training programs…” the Ambassador said.
In addition to the training already underway, Dennis Hearn said that the U.S. government is open to expanding its support, including military logistics, if that should be Mozambique’s wish.
“Training, in this case, creates a relationship in which we can – over time and alongside the Government of Mozambique – see what else would be useful for these units, for other aspects of security. We started a dialogue to find out what the needs are, what are the most urgent areas in need of additional support, be it material or training”.
The U.S official indicated that the United States has already invested “more than US$39M in the socio-economic area in Cabo Delgado”, through the support of projects that promote “community resilience, economic opportunities and skills training”.
“We are also trying to help by assisting the immediate humanitarian emergency through various programs where we have already allocated more than US$23M this year alone, in addition to previous programs to support humanitarian efforts.”
The note published by the U.S Embassy in Mozambique informs that:
“U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) Deputy Commander Colonel Richard Schmidt represented the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) during the opening ceremony, while Major General Ramiro Ramos Tulcidás represented the Government of Mozambique. In addition to training, the U.S. government provided 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 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. Civilian protection, human rights, and community engagement are central to U.S. cooperation and are foundational to effectively counter the Islamic State in Mozambique.”