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Tanzania, Mozambique Pen Deal for Joint Security, Defense Cooperation Amid Daesh-Aligned Insurgency

© Sputnik ScreenshotPresidents Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique on the tarmac in the Mozambican capital of Maputo in September 2022.
Presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique on the tarmac in the Mozambican capital of Maputo in September 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2022
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At a meeting in the Mozambican capital of Maputo on Thursday, Presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique agreed to two memoranda of understanding (MoUs), along with a host of other bilateral deals between the two East African nations.
One MoU provides for cooperation on peace and security, while the other covers defense cooperation, according to AFP. They were signed by defense ministers Stergomena Tax of Tanzania and Cristovao Chume of Mozambique.
The MoU’s are aimed at addressing ongoing security problems along their mutual border, most especially by Islamist insurgents in Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province. The group known locally as Al-Shabab (“The Youth”), of no relation to the Somali group of the same name, has terrorized the province since 2017, although it was only in 2020 that it attracted attention outside of Mozambique, when it pledged allegiance, at least formally, to Daesh.*
At its height, Al-Shabab controlled much of the province, including the port city of Mocimboa da Praia, and raided the major city of Palma in April 2021. However, the group has also launched cross-border raids, attacking Tanzania’s port of Mtwara, a major oil and gas export hub just north of Cabo Delgado.

The situation led Nyusi to reluctantly request outside help, with his own military so hamstrung by budget cuts caused by restrictions connected to International Monetary Fund (INF) loans that it could not handle the uprising itself. The South African Development Community (SADC) responded with a rapid intervention force, and Rwanda separately sent a force to fight as well. Maputo also received help from the European Union, United States, and Portugal, the former colonial ruler, in training its troops, medics, and other staff.

Al-Shabab has since been routed from Cabo Delgado, but retreated to the interior of the continent, where it has regrouped. The war has killed roughly 3,000 people and displaced more than 800,000. It has also created a food crisis in the impoverished region, which has created opportunities for corruption, including authorities coercing needy women into sex in exchange for food aid.

Repairing Bilateral Trade

The situation has caused cross-border trade to steadily dwindle, declining from 53 billion Tanzanian shillings ($22.84 million) in 2020 to 46 billion ($19.82 million) in 2021, according to The East African.
However, according to a June report by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, “ informal business through porous border routes goes on unabated in some areas thanks to strong networks and relationships that persist without the knowledge of the authorities.”
“We encourage people to engage in lawful business. They should not use informal border crossings to bring their commodities,” Mariam Chaurembo, the commissioner of Tanzania’s Nanyumbu district, told Anadolu. “Nobody is allowed to transact illegal business. Our law is very clear on that.”
© Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign AffairsThe Daraja la Umoja, or Unity Bridge, that opened across the Ruvuma River in 2010, connecting Tanzania's Mtwara region and Mozambique's Cabo Delgado state.
The Daraja la Umoja, or Unity Bridge, that opened across the Ruvuma River in 2010, connecting  Tanzania's Mtwara region and Mozambique's Cabo Delgado state. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.09.2022
The Daraja la Umoja, or Unity Bridge, that opened across the Ruvuma River in 2010, connecting Tanzania's Mtwara region and Mozambique's Cabo Delgado state.
That is why Suhulu and Nyusi also penned deals on Thursday to enhance trade and investment, energy, tourism, and education, including beginning the teaching of Swahili in Mozambican schools. The language is spoken across East Africa and is an official language in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, while being recognized as a minority language in Mozambique, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

An embarrassing situation arose during the Cabo Delgado war as Rwandan soldiers often had to translate between Swahili-speaking locals and Mozambican troops, emphasizing the alienation between the province and the rest of the country.

The deals follow discussions about enhancing cooperation at the 15th Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) between Tanzania and Mozambique last month.
"For the past years, we have been collaborating on various issues. But, now we want to boost the economy and strengthen partnerships in agriculture, natural gas and the blue economy because Mozambique has been doing well in those sectors,” said Joseph Sokoine, Tanzania’s permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, at the summit.
*Al-Shabab, Daesh (IS/ISIL/ISIS) - terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.
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