By Arnaldo Cuamba
US Navy, Mozambique and fifteen other nations are beginning an 11-day naval exercise today (29), in the north of the Mozambican coast, specifically in Cabo Delgado, a province that since October 2017 has been plagued by a series of anonymous extremist attacks.
Denominated “Cutlass Express 2019”, the Combined Military Exercise is aimed at training on Combating Illicit Trafficking, Maritime Piracy and interception of vessels engaged in illegal fishing.
According to a press release sent by US Embassy in Maputo and seen by the Pan African Visions, the exercise was designed to strengthen multilateral cooperation between naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean, such as Mozambique, Comoros, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and Somalia.
Combating drug trafficking by sea is also one of the training objectives.
A study titled “The Heroine Coast” and funded by the European Union (EU) found that the difficulty in getting the drug through Central Asia and Eastern Europe has increased traffic by the so-called “southern route,” in which Mozambique appears to be a key link in a complex chain that begins in Afghanistan and passes through southern and eastern Africa to reach Europe.
The drug enters the country from the north – “smugglers’ paradise”, it says – where it is dropped by small boats on beaches or by smaller ports and piers, but also in containers by the port of Nacala, one of the largest and most modern of the country, which the report claims to be controlled by criminal networks.
In the exercises France will participate with the French patrol vessel “Le Malin”, based in Réunion Island, a patrolman that carries out maritime safeguard missions, action
of the State at sea and public service in the French economic zones of the South Indian Ocean.