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Former Leader of EU Training Mission Warns that War Continues Despite Death of Terrorist Leader

Former Leader of EU Training Mission Warns that War Continues Despite Death of Terrorist Leader

The outgoing head of the European Union Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM-MOZ) described the death of the “leader of the terrorists” in August as a victory, but warned that the war in Cabo Delgado continues.

“It is indeed a victory. But victory in battle is not victory in war,” declared Rogério Paulo Figueira Martins de Brito, speaking to the media moments after stepping down as leader of EUTM-MOZ at an official ceremony in Maputo.

On 25 August, the Chief of Staff of the Mozambican Armed Defence Forces, Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse, announced that the leader of terrorism in the country, Mozambican Bonomade Machude Omar, had been eliminated, along with other members of the terrorist group’s leadership.

For Rogério Paulo Figueira Martins de Brito, despite this “victory”, the Mozambican Armed Forces must continue to work, in a process that must be accompanied by more investment to curb the insurgency in northern Mozambique.

“We need to keep working, keep training, keep preparing the forces and keep re-equipping them,” emphasised Rogério Paulo Figueira Martins de Brito.

For the Portuguese military officer, on the ground, the army has shown strong progress, especially with regard to joint and combined operations, but the fight against terrorism takes time.

“At the moment the initiative is on the side of the Mozambican army which, with its partners, has been carrying out a campaign, which naturally has good moments and bad moments, but whose outcome is extremely positive,” he emphasised.

Bonomade Machude, considered to be the leader of the radical Islamic State group in Mozambique, was targeted by the second phase of the Mozambican army’s so-called “Golpe Duro II” operation.

The extremist leader was described by several experts as “a symbiosis of brutality and vigilante”, and is on the US list of “global terrorists” and the target of European Union sanctions.

In August 2021, the United States included Bonomade Machude Omar, also known as Abu Sulayfa Muhammad and Ibn Omar, on the list of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT)”.

Cabo Delgado province has been facing armed insurgency for almost six years, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

The conflict has displaced one million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and caused around 4,000 deaths, according to the conflict registry, ACLED.

At the head of EUTM-MOZ, Marine Commodore Rogério Paulo Figueira Martins de Brito was replaced by Portuguese Brigadier General João Carlos de Bastos Jorge Gonçalves, a former F-16 pilot in the Portuguese Air Force (FAP), in a ceremony attended by the Portuguese Secretary of State for Defence, Carlos Pires, and the Mozambican Chief of State, Major General, who did not make any statements to the media.

Lusa

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