Lying conveniently on the South African border, Limpopo National Park is a key transit area for former colonel Lionel Dyck's operations in Mozambique. The supply route may be relatively unobtrusive, but is raising hackles in Pretoria.
Lionel Dyck is moving most of the military equipment he imports from South Africa through Limpopo National Park. The Zimbabwean ex-colonel's private security firm, the Dyck Advisory Group, has extended well into next year its contract to provide air support to Mozambican police, who are fighting a jihadist insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado region.
Buddies on the border
In August 2019, Dyck moved two Gazelle helicopters, painted in French army camouflage, through the same park. The choppers were later deployed in Cabo Delgado. Limpopo National Park is adjacent to South Africa's Kruger National Park and the border between the two is porous, making it easy to cross unnoticed.
Dyck has also made it his logistical base: he maintains very good relations with local representatives of the Administraçao Nacional das Áreas de Conservaçao thanks to the anti-poaching operations the Dyck Advisory Group Conservation Trust (a former company subsidiary) conducts in Limpopo park on behalf of South Africa's Peace Parks Foundation (Africa Intelligence, 12/05/20). Park rangers are familiar with Dyck's men, some have even been seen posing in front of his helicopters in Massingir Velho, where the DAG has access to a landing strip. At the time of going to press, park director António Abacar had not replied to our questions.
South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, or Hawks, have begun to take a keen interest in the equipment passing through Limpopo park, with a view to establishing whether Dyck's company is violating the Foreign Military Assistance Act. This law requires all paramilitary activity, including that conducted outside of South Africa, to obtain prior approval from Pretoria. The situation is especially awkward for South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, who will be unable to meet Mozambique's request for help as long as Dyck's company is active in Cabo Delgado which will be quite a while yet, given the recent eight-month contract extension.
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