MAPUTO. – The private military contractor providing aerial support to Mozambican ground forces battling Islamic State-linked insurgents near a US$20 billion natural gas project is set to leave the country in a week.
Dyck Advisory Group’s one-year agreement is coming to an end and hasn’t been extended, with the last helicopter gunship flights on April 2, Lionel Dyck, the company’s founder, said by phone.
That could leave state troops exposed as they continue a house-to-house mission to find insurgents remaining in Palma, the closest town to the Total SE site where fighting is continuing, he said.
The attack on Palma is the latest in a series of assaults that have taken the conflict in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province closer to the natural gas finds that are crucial for the nation’s economic future. The three-year insurgency is putting as much as US$120 billion of investment at stake.
“House clearing is the most dangerous form of combat. It helps a hell of a lot if you have the aerial support for that. And the aerial support has got to be little helicopters like mine, which are nippy and can turn around and duck and dive.
”While the Total site isn’t at risk of a direct raid at present, the militant’s use of mortars allows them to fire from a distance,” said Dyck.
DAG has come under criticism for its involvement in the war. – Bloomberg.