Mozambique Defence Armed Forces


The Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (Portuguese: Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) or FADM are the national armed forces of Mozambique. They include the General Staff of the Armed Forces and three branches of service: Army, Air Force and Navy.

Mozambique Defence Armed Forces
Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique
Current formAugust 1994
Service branchesArmy
Naval Command
Air and Air Defence Forces
HeadquartersMinistry of National Defence, Avenida Martires de Mueda, Maputo[1]
PresidentFilipe Nyusi
Prime MinisterAdriano Maleiane
National Defence MinisterJaime Bessa Neto[2]
Chief of General StaffJoaquim Mangrasse
Military age18
Active personnel11,200[3]
Budget$245 million (2020 est.)
Percent of GDP2.5% (2008 est.)
Foreign suppliers Portugal
Related articles
HistoryMozambican War of Independence
Mozambican Civil War
Rhodesian Bush War
Angolan Civil War
Uganda-Tanzania War
RENAMO insurgency (2013–2019)
Insurgency in Cabo Delgado
RanksMilitary ranks of Mozambique
Mozambican soldiers

The FADM were formed in mid August 1994, by the integration of the Forças Armadas de Moçambique/FPLM with the military wing of RENAMO, following the end of the civil war.


Coelho et al write: "Independence in June 1975 was preceded by a nine-month transition period in which Frelimo took control of a transitional cabinet where held six of the nine ministries."[4] The previous Forças Populares de Libertação de Moçambique (FPLM), the armed wing of FRELIMO, became the Forças Armadas de Moçambique but retained the FPLM title, becoming 'FAM/FPLM.' From 1975 to the successful conclusions of the Rome negotiations in 1992, former liberation war leader Alberto Joaquim Chipande served as Minister of National Defence.[5]

Under the previous FAM, in 1982, ten provincial semi-autonomous military commands were created; the provincial commanders also acted as second in commands of the provincial government. Coelho et al write:[6]

"the 1st Brigade and the 6th Tank Brigade were located in Maputo; the 2nd Brigade was in Mapai and, together with 8th Brigade based in Chokwe, assured protection of the south; the 3rd Brigade was in Chimoio and the 5th in Beira; the 4th Brigade was placed in Tete, and the 7th in Cuamba, assuring a military presence in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Zambezia and Nampula, and particularly in the Nacala corridor.."

Throughout the 1980s the FRELIMO government and its armed forces, the Forças Armadas de Moçambique/FPLM, fought the rebel Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), which received support by South Africa. The Mozambique Civil War only ended in 1992.

The Mozambique Defence Armed Forces were formed in mid-August 1994 after peace negotiations in Rome had produced the General Peace Agreement (GPA, AGP in Portuguese). The new armed forces were formed by integrating those soldiers of the former government Forças Armadas de Moçambique/FPLM and those among the RENAMO rebels who wished to stay in uniform.[7] They were formed through a commission, the Comissão Conjunta para a Formação das Forças Armadas de Defesa e Segurança de Moçambique (CCFADM), chaired by the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ).[8]

Two generals were appointed to lead the new forces, one from FRELIMO, Lieutenant General Lagos Lidimo, who was named Chief of the Defence Force and Major General Mateus Ngonhamo from RENAMO as Vice-Chief of the Defence Force. The former Chief of the Army of the Forças Armadas de Moçambique, Lieutenant General Antonio Hama Thai, was retired.[citation needed]

The first three infantry battalions were stationed at Chokwe, Cuamba, and Quelimane.[9]

On 20 March 2008, Reuters reported that President Guebuza had dismissed the Chief and Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Lagos Lidimo (FRELIMO) and Lieutenant General Mateus Ngonhamo (RENAMO), replacing them with Brigadier General Paulino Macaringue as Chief of Defence Force and Major General Olímpio Cambora as Vice-Chief of Defence Force.[10][11]

Filipe Nyussi took office as Minister of Defense on 27 March 2008, succeeding Tobias Joaquim Dai.[12] Nyussi's appointment came almost exactly one year after a fire and resulting explosions of munitions at the Malhazine armoury in Maputo killed more than 100 people and destroyed 14,000 homes. A government-appointed investigative commission concluded that negligence played a role in the disaster, and Dai "was blamed by many for failing to act on time to prevent the loss of life".[13] Although no official reason was given for Dai's removal, it may have been a "delayed reaction" to the Malhazine disaster.[14]

In April 2010 it was announced that "the People's Republic of China donated to the FADM material for agriculture worth 4 million euros, including trucks, tractors, agricultural implements, mowers and motorbikes in the framework of bilateral cooperation in the military. Under a protocol of cooperation in the military field, the Government of China will also provide support to the Ministry of Defence of Mozambique with about 1 million euros for the areas of training and logistics. The protocol for granting aid to the Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique (FADM) was signed by Defense Minister of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, and the charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Maputo, Lee Tongli."[15]

Mozambique has also been involved in many peacekeeping operations in Burundi (232 personnel),[16] Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor and Sudan. They have also actively participated in joint military operations such Blue Hungwe in Zimbabwe in 1997 and Blue Crane in South Africa in 1999. All which are at attempt to build security and trust in the Southern African region.[citation needed]


No. Photo Name
Term of office Ref.
Took office Left office Time in office
1   Lagos Henriques Lidimo August 1994 20 March 2008 13 years, 7 months [17][18]
2   Paulino Jose Macaringue 20 March 2008 26 June 2013 5 years, 98 days [18][19]
3   Graça Tomás Chongo 26 June 2013 26 October 2017 4 years, 122 days [19][20]
4   General do exército
Lázaro Henriques Lopes Menete
26 October 2017 14 January 2021 3 years, 138 days [21][22]
5   General do exército
Eugénio Mussa
14 January 2021 8 February 2021 † 25 days [23]
6   Almirante
Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse
13 March 2021 Incumbent 1 year, 105 days [24]

Land ForcesEdit

A Mozambique army officer during Exercise SHARED ACCORD 2010 with the United States

The Mozambican Army was formed in 1976 from three conventional battalions, two of which were trained in Tanzania and a third of which was trained in Zambia.[25] Army officer candidates were initially trained in Maputo by Chinese military instructors.[25] In March 1977, following Mozambique's Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union, officer candidates became eligible for training in various Warsaw Pact member states.[25] The Soviet military mission in Mozambique assisted in raising a new army composed of five infantry brigades and an armored brigade.[25] At the height of the civil war, this was gradually increased to eight infantry brigades, an armored brigade, and a counter-insurgency brigade[25] modeled after the Zimbabwean 5th Brigade.[26]

The preexisting FAM was abolished after the end of the civil war under the auspices of the Joint Commission for the Formation of the Mozambican Defence Force (CCFADM), which included advisers from Portugal, France, and the United Kingdom.[25] The CCFADM recommended that former army personnel and an equal number of demobilised RENAMO insurgents be integrated into a single force numbering about 30,000.[27] Due to logistics problems and budgetary constraints, however, the army only numbered about 12,195 in 1995.[25] Force levels rarely fluctuated between 1995 and the mid-2000s due to the army's limited resources and low budget priority.[25]

In 2016, the Mozambican Army consisted of 10,000 troops organised into three special forces battalions, seven light infantry battalions, two engineer battalions, two artillery battalions, and a single logistics battalion.[28]

As of 2017, the serving chief of the army was Major General Eugènio Dias Da Silva.[29]

Mozambique Army in Amani Africa II


Between 1977 and 1989, the Mozambican Army was lavishly supplied with Soviet weapons, as well as a Soviet-supervised technical programme to oversee their logistics needs and maintenance.[30] Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, along with the resulting departure of Soviet technical staff, much of this equipment was rendered inoperable.[30] The bulk of the army's hardware remained vested in this ageing and increasingly obsolescent Soviet equipment throughout the 2000s, and serviceability rates have remained low.[28] In 2016, less than 10% of the army's artillery and armoured vehicles were operational.[28]

Small armsEdit

Weapon Type Origin Notes
Browning Hi-Power[31] Semi-automatic pistol   Belgium
Makarov[31] Semi-automatic pistol   Soviet Union
Stechkin[31] Automatic pistol   Soviet Union
TT pistol[31] Semi-automatic pistol   Soviet Union
Walther P38[31] Semi-automatic pistol   Germany
Submachine guns
FBP[31] Submachine gun   Portugal
Franchi LF-57[31] Submachine gun   Italy
Sa vz. 23[31] Submachine gun   Czechoslovakia
Škorpion vz. 61[32] Submachine gun   Czechoslovakia
Star Model Z84[31] Submachine gun   Spain
SKS[32] Semi-automatic rifle   Soviet Union
AK-47[31] Assault rifle   Soviet Union
AKM[31] Assault rifle   Soviet Union
vz. 58[31] Assault rifle   Czechoslovakia
FN FAL[32] Battle rifle   Belgium
Machine guns
RPK[32] Light machine gun   Soviet Union
ZB vz. 37[31] General-purpose machine gun   Czechoslovakia
Rheinmetall MG 3[31] General-purpose machine gun   Germany Italian Beretta MG 42/59 variant.[31]
PK[31] Medium machine gun   Soviet Union
DShK[32] Heavy machine gun   Soviet Union
SG-43 Goryunov[31] Heavy machine gun   Soviet Union

Heavy weaponsEdit

Weapon Type Origin Notes
B-10[31] Recoilless rifle   Soviet Union
B-11[31] Recoilless rifle   Soviet Union
RPG-7[33] Rocket-propelled grenade   Soviet Union
9M14 Malyutka[31] Anti-tank guided missile   Soviet Union
9K111 Fagot[31] Anti-tank guided missile   Soviet Union
Air defence
ZU-23-2 Anti-aircraft gun   Soviet Union 120 in service.[33][28]
61-K Anti-aircraft gun   Soviet Union 90 in service; 10 in storage.[28]
AZP S-60 Anti-aircraft gun   Soviet Union 60 in service; 30 in storage.[28]
ZSU-57-2 Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun   Soviet Union 20 in service.[33][28]
S-125 Neva/Pechora[34] Surface-to-air missile   Soviet Union 103 originally acquired.[35]
9K31 Strela-1[35] Surface-to-air missile   Soviet Union
9K32 Strela-2 Surface-to-air missile   Soviet Union 20 operational.[33] Up to 250 in storage.[36]
BS-3 Field gun   Soviet Union 20 in service.[33][28]
M-30[35] Howitzer   Soviet Union
D-30 Howitzer   Soviet Union 12 in service.[33][37]
M-46 Field gun   Soviet Union 6[37]
D-1 Howitzer   Soviet Union 12[37]
ZiS-3 Field gun   Soviet Union 180 in service.[33]
D-48 Anti-tank gun   Soviet Union 6[37]
Type 56 Field gun   China 12[37]
BM-21 Grad Multiple rocket launcher   Soviet Union 12[37]
120-PM-43 Heavy mortar   Soviet Union 12[37]
82-BM-37 Infantry mortar   Soviet Union 40[37]


Vehicle Type Origin Notes
T-55 Main battle tank   Soviet Union 90—110 originally in service;[35] status uncertain.[36]
T-54 Main battle tank   Soviet Union 60 originally in service;[35] status uncertain.[36]
PT-76 Light tank   Soviet Union 16 in service.[33][34]
Armoured cars
BRDM-1 Scout car   Soviet Union 31 originally in service;[35] >28 operational.[33]
BRDM-2 Scout car   Soviet Union 56 originally in service;[35] >28 operational.[33]
Armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles
Casspir Armoured personnel carrier   South Africa 15 delivered;[35] >status uncertain.[33]
BTR-40[34] Armoured personnel carrier   Soviet Union
BTR-152 Armoured personnel carrier   Soviet Union 60–100 in service.[33][28]
BTR-60 Armoured personnel carrier   Soviet Union 80–160 in service.[33][28]
Saxon Armoured personnel carrier   United Kingdom 25 in service.[28][35]
FV432 Armoured personnel carrier   United Kingdom 30–40 in service.[28][35]
WZ-551 Armoured personnel carrier   China 30-35 in service
Marauder Armoured personnel carrier   South Africa 5 delivered in 2020
VN-4 Multi role armoured personnel carrier   China 12 delivered in 2014
BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle   Soviet Union 40 in service.[28][33]
Utility vehicles
EQ2050 Off-road vehicle   China
K61 GPT[34] Amphibious transporter   Soviet Union

Air ForceEdit


There are about 2000 personnel in the navy.[citation needed] In September 2004 it was reported that the South African Navy was to donate two of its Namacurra class harbour patrol boat to the Mozambique Navy. The boats were refitted by the naval dockyard at Simon's Town and equipped with outboard motors and navigation equipment donated by the French Navy. The French Navy Durance class command and replenishment oiler Marne (A360) was to deliver the boats to Maputo en route to its ALINDIEN operational area in the Indian Ocean after a refit in Cape Town.[38]

In 2013, the French shipyard CMN Group confirmed a major order by Mozambique, including 6 patrol vessels & interceptors (HSI32).[39] On 29 July 2019 in the first ever visit by an Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh donated 2 L&T class Fast interceptor boats to the Navy. A team from Indian Coast Guard will also be stationed to train the crew, support for maintenance and operation of the two boats.[40]


  • PCI-class inshore patrol boat (3 ordered, non-operational)
  • MNS Pebane (P-001) ex-Spanish navy Dragonera (P-32) ( 85 tons, 32 meters ) transferred after refit 2012 from the Spanish Navy[41] for a symbolic price (€100).
  • 20 - 25 DV-15 Interceptors. An unknown number of units in active service.[42]
  • 3 x HSI32 Interceptors [42]
  • 3 x OCEAN EAGLE 43 OPV. Three were acquired as part of the CMN deal. Currently all three are based at Pemba.[42]


  1. ^ Military Technology, World Defence Almanac, Vol. XXXII, Issue 1, 2008, p.323
  2. ^ ""You don't need to be a military officer to be defence minister" – Jaime Bessa Neto | Club of Mozambique".
  3. ^ "2021 Mozambique Military Strength".
  4. ^ Coelho, Malache & Macaringue 2015, p. 161.
  5. ^ Coelho, Malache & Macaringue 2015, p. 162.
  6. ^ Coelho, Malache & Macaringue 2015, p. 173.
  7. ^ "Suppressing the Revival of Conflict in Mozambique through Inclusive National Dialogue". ACCORD. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  8. ^ 'Final Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Operation in Mozambique,' S/1994/1449, 23 December 1994
  9. ^ Richard Synge, Mozambique: UN Peacekeeping in Action, 1992-94, United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 1997, p.105
  10. ^ Reuters, Mozambique leader Guebuza sacks defence chiefs, 2008
  11. ^ World Library. "A History of the Mozambican Civil War" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Mozambique: New Ministers Sworn in". 27 March 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  13. ^ "Mozambique defence minister axed a year after arms depot tragedy". International News Service. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  14. ^ "Mozambique: Guebuza Sacks Defence Minister". 26 March 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Helmoed-Romer Heitman, 'Burundi mission at full strength,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 29 October 2003, 16.
  17. ^ "Lagos Lidimo and Nathu Caba: More on the new men at the helm of Intelligence Service – AIM report". Club of Mozambique. AIM. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  18. ^ a b Reuters Staff (20 March 2008). "Mozambique leader Guebuza sacks defence chiefs". Reuters. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Mozambique army chief fired". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Changes in Mozambique state security leadership: What analysts say". Club of Mozambique. Deutsche Welle. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  21. ^ "President Nyusi appoints new head of armed forces". High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  22. ^ "President makes new appointments in Police and Armed Forces – Mozambique". Club of Mozambique. AIM. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Mozambique: General Eugénio Mussa, FADM Chief of Staff, dies after illness". Club of Mozambique. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Mozambique: Nyusi appoints new Head of Armed Forces". Club of Mozambique. AIM. 13 March 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h Coelho, Malache & Macaringue 2015.
  26. ^ Bermudez, Joseph (1997). Terrorism, the North Korean connection. New York: Crane, Russak & Company. p. 124. ISBN 978-0844816104.
  27. ^ Coelho, Malache & Macaringue 2015, p. 181.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2016). The Military Balance 2016. London: IISS. pp. 457–458. ISBN 978-1857438352.
  29. ^ Indiablooms. "Sunil Lanba visits Mozambique, Tanzania | Indiablooms - First Portal on Digital News Management". Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  30. ^ a b Howe, Herbert (2004). Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner Publishers. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-1588263155.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Hogg, Ian (1991). Jane's Infantry Weapons, 1991-1992 (1992 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 747. ISBN 9780710609632.
  32. ^ a b c d e "SALW Guide: Global distribution and visual identification (Mozambique country report)" (PDF). Bonn: Bonn International Center for Conversion. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kruger, Anton; Martin, Guy (23 August 2013). "Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique". Johannesburg: DefenceWeb. Archived from the original on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  34. ^ a b c d Keegan, John (1983). World Armies (Second ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan. p. 408. ISBN 978-0333340790.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j SIPRI, (various) (2016). "Trade Registers". Solna: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  36. ^ a b c Hussein, Solomon (1988). Towards a Common Defence and Security Policy in the Southern African Development Community. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0798301749.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h International Institute for Strategic Studies (2020). "Chapter Nine: Sub-Saharan Africa". The Military Balance. 120 (1): 490. doi:10.1080/04597222.2020.1707971. S2CID 219623431.
  38. ^ Helmoed-Romer Heitman, 'SAN patrol boats gifted to Mozambique,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 1 September 2004, p.17
  39. ^ "French shipyard CMN confirms major order by Mozambique including 6 Patrol Vessels & Interceptors". Navy Recognition. 7 September 2013.
  40. ^ "India hands over two Fast Interceptor boats to Mozambique". Zee News. 29 July 2019.
  41. ^ "La Armada española transfiere el patrullero 'Conejera' a la Marina de Senegal". spanish navy web. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  42. ^ a b c "H I Sutton - Covert Shores". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  • Coelho, Joao-Paulo Borges; Malache, Adriano; Macaringue, Paulino (2015). Profound transformations and regional conflagrations: The history of Mozambique's armed forces from 1975–2005 (PDF). Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  • Hoyle, Craig. "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International, Vol. 182 No. 5370. pp. 40–64. ISSN 0015-3710.

Further readingEdit

  • Protocol on the Formation of the FADM, Rome 1992
  • Cameron R. Hume, Ending Mozambique's War: The Role of Mediation and Good Offices, U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington DC, 1994
  • Lundin, Irae B, Martinho Chachiua, Anthonio Gaspar, Habiba Guebuzua, and Guilherme Mbilana (2000). Reducing Costs through an Expensive Exercise: The Impact of Demobilization in Mozambique, in Kees Kingma (ed.) Demobilization in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Development and Security Impacts, Basingstoke, UK: MacMillan, 173-212
  • Anica Lala, Security sector reform in post-conflict environments: An analysis of coherence and sequencing in Mozambique. Examining Peacebuilding Challenges of Defence, Police and Justice Reforms in a Neo-Liberal Era, 2014 Bradford thesis
  • Anica Lala, Security and Democracy in Southern Africa: Mozambique, 2007
  • Paulino Macaringue, "Civil-Military Relations in Post-Cold War Mozambique," Ourselves to Know, Institute for Security Studies, 2002.
  • Martin Rupiya, 'Historical Context: War and Peace in Mozambique,' in Jeremy Armon, Dylan Henrickson and Alex Vines, eds, The Mozambican Peace Process in Perspective, London: Conciliation Resources Accord Series, 1998
  • Richard Synge, Mozambique: UN Peacekeeping in Action, 1992–94, United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 1997 - includes details on formation of FADM, but has multiple mistakes, including concluding from mid-mission rather than final ONUMOZ report that new army had five (rather than final seven) battalions.
  • Eric T. Young, The Development of the FADM in Mozambique: Internal and External Dynamics, African Security Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1996
  • [1]
  • Joao Porto, Mozambique contributes to the African Union Mission in Burundi, April 2003

External linksEdit

  • United States Marine Corps, Brotherhood of Arms- story of one Mozambiqican officer's career
  • - details in 1976
  • "7000 ghost soldiers found. Soldiers have been paid in cash, and in March actually had to show up to collect. According to Carta de Moçambique (4, 6 May) 7000 ghost soldiers were found. "Among the irregularities detected in recent months is the growing number of children of former combatants, generals, colonels and politicians, who swell the ranks of the FADM and receive salaries without ever having been in military training, let alone setting foot in a military unit," noted Carta. And many salaries of fake soldier were being channelled to senior officials. The scheme also includes the distribution of food, alcoholic beverage, fuel vouchers and rent subsidy. The military will now switch to electronic payments." Joseph Hanlon, Mozambique News Reports and Clippings 596, 16 May 2022, accessible via

  This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document: "2003 edition".