Four hundred new African paratroopers for the Portuguese forces in Mozambique made parachute jumps in front of the Governor-General of Mozambique, Mr.
Four hundred new African paratroopers for the Portuguese forces in Mozambique made parachute jumps in front of the Governor-General of Mozambique, Mr. Pimentel Do Santos at Dondo Army Barracks, near Beira, last Saturday. (April 9).
Afterwards, they were presented with their wings and red berets and took an oath to defend the Portuguese land and flag.
Making a parachute jump with them was an 18-year-old girl, Carmo Jardim, who is one of their instructors. Carmo has made over four hundred jumps.
Carmo had a brightly-coloured parachute and trailed a coloured smoke trail behind her. Later she met the Governor-General and helped to present red berets to the new paratroopers. The paratroops had undergone several months of intensive training.
Black participation in the 60,000-strong Portuguese Army in Mozambique has now risen to almost 60 per cent. If the present rate of Africanisation of the army continues, about 75 per cent of the armed forces in Mozambique will be black by the middle of 1974.
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, Frelimo, has been fighting a guerrilla war in Mozambique since 1964.
Portuguese military authorities have been recently quoted in newsagency reports as saying they are confident they have the situation in the South-East African state under control. They say the Frelimo guerrillas have been defeated on three fronts, and that although they could still mount sabotage attacks, these had no military significance.
The special paratroop groups, made up of volunteers, were formed in July, 1971. There are more than a dozen special groups. They are recruited locally and know the territory and the history of the war. Portuguese Army authorities say the special groups have been producing good results, both in preventing casualties and in "liberating people under enemy control".
The ceremony was watched by the Governor General, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, General Kaulza De Arriaga, and senior military officers and diplomatic representative.
This unusual film of the African soldiers who have been coming forward to fight in the Portuguese forces in Mozambique was made at the invitation of the Portuguese authorities.
SYNOPSIS: In Mozambique, African paratroopers are joining the Portuguese forces to fight against African nationalist guerrillas. At Dondo Army Barracks, near Beira, lest Saturday, the Mozambique Governor, Mr. Pimental Do Santos, and the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Kaulza De Arriaga, inspected a large group of new paratroopers.
Later, four hundred of the paratroopers who have just completed several months intensive training gave a spectacular display. They are volunteer members of the Special Paratroop Group formed in 1971. Now nearly sixty per cent of the Portuguese Army in Mozambique are African.
If Africanisation continues, three quarters of the sixty thousand strong army will be African by 1974. Portuguese Army authorities say the locally recruited special groups have already had success in the ten year old war against Frelimo.
One of the parachutes was a special colour. It belonged to Carmo Jardin, an eighteen year old Portuguese girl. She is one of the Portuguese Army parachute instructors, and has already made more than four hundred jumps.
When she landed Carmo met the Governor-General and helped to present red berets.
Portuguese Army authorities have recently expressed confidence that the military situation in Mozambique is under control. They say the Frelimo guerrillas have been defeated on three fronts. The Army says that the guerrillas can still make sabotage attacks. But that these have on military significance. General Arriage said last week the tide was likely to turn against the guerrillas within two years.
There was also an award for the girl who helped to train the new paratroopers.