Tanzania deploys troops at the Mozambique border

Thursday May 7 2020

Tanzania's Chief of Defence Forces  General

Tanzania's Chief of Defence Forces  General Venance Salvatory Mabeyo 

By Louis Kolumbia

Dar es Salaam. The government has sent troops to Tanzania’s border with Mozambique to boost security after insurgents launched attacks in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
In February this year, the group attacked security forces and civilians in Cabo Delgado, killing people, destroying property and seizing fire-arms and ammunitions.
Last month, the group reportedly massacred at least 50 people in Muidumbe district when they over-ran the district’s capital Namacunde and occupied the district police com-mand.
Media reports say the United Nations has recorded 28 attacks in the area since the beginning of 2020, which killed up to 400 people and displaced at least 100 000 others.
Requesting Parliament to endorse a total of Sh2.1 trillion for the Ministry of Defence and National Service for the 2020/21 financial year, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, said troops were dispatched to the area despite the fact that it was generally calm on the Tanzanian side.
Ms Mhagama was presenting the budget estimates on behalf of her Defence and National Services counterpart, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, who was attending to other government duties.
She said troops have been dispatched to the border close to Mtwara Region to contain secu-rity threats posed by Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) insurgents.
“In March this year, the government dispatched troops to Msimbati and Sindano areas in Mtwara as well as Chiwindi in Nyasa District, Ruvuma Region, in order to strengthen security along the coun-try’s 1,536-kilometre borders with Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia,” she said.
Media reports from Mozambique say the insurgency was part of a struggle for the control of Cabo Del-gado’s oil, gas and mineral riches.
Ms Mhagama who doubles as the Chief Whip in Parliament, said the ministry was requesting for approval of Sh2.141 trillion for 2020/21.
The amount is Sh286.997 billion (15.4 percent) more than the Sh1.854 trillion endorsed for 2019/20.Ms Mhagama said Sh1.977 tril-lion was for recurrent expenditure, while Sh164 billion was the minis-try’s development budget.
“Sh1.617 trillion will be used for recurrent expenditure and implementation of development projects under Ngome, while Sh354.235 billion and Sh169.635 billion will be allocated to the National Service and the ministry headquarters, respectively,” she said.
The tabled budget shows that the ministry’s allocations for recurrent expenditure was expected to increase from Sh1.726 trillion to Sh1.977 trillion, while funds for implementation of development projects will increase from Sh128 billion to Sh164 billion.
In the coming fiscal year, she said the ministry will continue to improve the military through provision of modern equipment, communication tools and human resource.“Improving the working environ-ment of soldiers, including training, preservation of equipment and infra-structure, welfare and improved ser-vices in terms of health, office and housing will be among the priorities,” Ms Mhagama said.
The ministry will build the capac-ity of the National Service by improv-ing infrastructure that will enable the recruitment of more youth in provision of training on patriotism, sturdiness, national unity and job skills.
The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Committee asked the gov-ernment to increase the docket’s budget and release funds for timely completion of the ministry’s head-quarters in Dodoma.
“The government should also release funds for compensation of people who have given up their land to be used for military purposes,” said committee member Almas Maige when presenting the team’s views.