Since 2017, Mozambique’s northern province, Cabo Delgado, has suffered from high levels of conflict and armed violence involving a non-state armed group. As of 2022, this situation had not improved.1 Due to this ongoing conflict, it is difficult to implement ammunition management policies in the country, especially as there are also high levels of weapons and ammunition trafficking.2 In 2015, Mozambique completed landmine clearance operations.3
The African Union, UNDP, NPA, BICC and Fenix Insight are on the ground to help with the through-life management of ammunition in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of Mozambique. Efforts have included providing risk assessments of ammunition storage areas, completing an online database to manage the ownership of state and civilian firearms, ammunitions and explosives, and creating a database on ongoing and completed interventions in the field of small arms and light weapons (SALW) control to keep track of activities in the region.4
1Burrier, Edward A. “New U.S. Plan to Address Conflict Could Boost Mozambique's Gains.” United States Institute of Peace, April 5, 2022. https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/04/new-us-plan-address-conflict-could-boost-mozambiques-gains.
2“Guns in Mozambique.” Gun Law and Policy: Firearms and armed violence, country by country. Accessed June 25, 2022. https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/mozambique.
3“Mozambique Declared Free of Landmines.” BBC News, September 17, 2015. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34275604.
4See AMAP Dataset.
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Since the beginning of data collection in 1979 by the Small Arms Survey, numerous accidental explosions were reported in Mozambique.
Table. 1 Accidental explosions in Mozambique (1979-2021)
Source: Small Arms Survey. n.d. Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS). Database.
Cases of diversion
Various cases of diversion have been reported since 2000 in Mozambique.
Table 2: Cases of diversion of arms, ammunition, and explosives in Mozambique since 2000
An AK-47 and a pistol, as well as magazines containing more than 50 rounds of ammunition were stolen from a police post.
Two soldiers stole an AK-47 rifle from army stockpiles.
2,040 AK-47 bullets went missing over an unspecified period of time from an armoury warehouse.
Three soldiers stole firearms from the national armoury, which included an AK-47 rifle (exact number unknown).
Source: Nkala, Oscar. “Three Mozambican Soldiers Arrested for Stealing and Selling Army Firearms.” defenceWeb, November 27, 2012. https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/civil-security/three-mozambican-soldiers-arrested-for-stealing-and-selling-army-firearms/. “Police Detain Two Soldiers Allegedly about to Sell This AK-47 for 500,000 Meticais - Watch.” Club of Mozambique, February 1, 2022. https://clubofmozambique.com/news/mozambique-police-detain-two-soldiers-allegedly-about-to-sell-this-ak-47-for-500000-meticais-watch-208745/. “Captain Allegedly Arrested in Nampula over Ammunition Theft.” Club of Mozambique, April 12, 2018. https://clubofmozambique.com/news/mozambique-captain-allegedly-arrested-in-nampula-over-ammunition-theft-aim-report/. “Public Worried after Theft of Police Weapons in Xai-Xai.” Africa Press, February 2, 2022. https://www.africa-press.net/mozambique/all-news/mozambique-public-worried-after-theft-of-police-weapons-in-xai-xai.
To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Mozambique has continuously disposed of its ammunition since 2001.
Table 3 Disposal of tonnes of ammunition in Mozambique (2001-2022)
|Year||Tonnes of Ammunition|
Sources: APOPO. “Blown up! 3.5 Tons of Ammo and Mortar Bombs Destroyed.” ReliefWeb, December 28, 2015. https://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/blown-35-tons-ammo-and-mortar-bombs-destroyed. “20 Tons of Ammunitions Destroyed!” APOPO, April 12, 2016. https://www.apopo.org/en/latest/2016/4/11/20-tons-of-ammunitions-destroyed-. “Mozambique: Over 100 Tonnes of Obsolete Munitions Destroyed.” AllAfrica.com, November 13, 2007. https://allafrica.com/stories/200711130799.html. “Mozambique Destroy Weapons.” News24, July 9, 2001. https://www.news24.com/news24/mozambique-destroy-weapons-20010709. “Mine Action and Disarmament | By Norwegian People's Aid.” Facebook, February 4, 2022. https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=263512372586808&_rdr.
To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Mozambique:
- Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management
- Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles
Source: PoA Report 2016, Mozambique. Please note that PoA reports focus on SALW and not specifically on ammunition. https://unoda-poa.s3.amazonaws.com/poa-reports-le/2016%40135%402016%20-%20PoA%20-%20Mozambique%20-%20E.pdf