EU considers training mission to steady Mozambique

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will consider sending a civilian training mission to Mozambique to help the government withstand a growing insurgency, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday.

Mozambique's government has been facing an Islamist insurgency since 2017 and rebels have stepped up attacks in the past year, putting at risk natural gas projects that are aimed at transforming the country's economy..

Mozambique wrote to the EU in September to ask for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency.

"The Mozambique government has been asking for help, we will try to send a training order to contain the security situation," Borrell said as he arrived for a meeting of EU defence ministers, who will discuss Mozambique.

Borrell said any mission would be similar to the EU's involvement in the Sahel, where its experts provide training and advice to national security forces. The EU also trains Mali's armed forces and fights organised crime in Niger.

It was not clear if the EU would consider a military component to any possible Mozambique mission.

Since 2007, the EU has had battlegroups of 1,500 personnel on stand-by that can be deployed for up to 120 days, but they have never been used.

The EU is also studying the creation of a rapid response force of some 5,000 soldiers to intervene in international crisis, although the plans are only at a conceptual stage and would not be ready to support Mozambique.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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