Country Listing

Mauritius Table of Contents


Special Mobile Force

Since independence, Mauritius has refrained from establishing an army, largely because of the cost of maintaining such a force. Instead, the security establishment includes the Mauritian Police Force which consists of a regular armed police of about 4,000 personnel, the paramilitary 1,200-member SMF, and the 240-member Special Support Unit (SSU), all of which are responsible for internal security. There also is a Special Constabulary and a small Anti-Drug and Smuggling Unit under police jurisdiction. Mauritius lacks a traditional military budget. However, expenditures for the various police services in FY 1991-92 amounted to MR 167.3 million (for value of the Mauritian rupee-- see Glossary), or about 1.4 percent of total central government spending.

The Mauritian Police Force reports to a police commissioner, who in turn is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Security. However, for all intents and purposes, Prime Minister Jugnauth commands the police. Equipment used by all these organizations includes small arms, rifles, riot-control gear such as clubs and wicker shields, and tear gas canisters. The transport inventory includes Land Rovers, light scout cars, and at least two helicopters. Recruitment is by voluntary enlistment from all ethnic communities. Training is usually conducted in Mauritius; however, some officers have trained in foreign military academies such as the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Britain. In 1990 the Mauritian government approved the construction of a Police Academy at Vacoas.

In addition, at least two security organizations report to the prime minister's office. In 1982 the Mauritian government established the National Investigation Unit (NIU), which had been known as the State Service, to monitor internal security developments and the activities of foreign embassies and certain foreign visitors. This organization includes up to 200 full-time agents, all of whom are recruited from the regular police force, and 3,000 informers scattered throughout the country. In 1989, after an unsuccessful attempt on his life, Jugnauth ordered the establishment of a 100-member Very Important Persons Security Unit.

Mauritius maintains a small air arm to undertake maritime surveillance, search and rescue missions, and to patrol the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The air inventory includes two specially configured Dornier-228s, which were operated by Indian crews until the first Mauritians were trained.

The mission of the 350-member Mauritian Coast Guard (MCG) is to ensure the safety of Mauritian fisherman, prevent smuggling, and protect the marine environment. The MCG inventory includes two Soviet-built surveillance craft, the CGS Rescuer, and the CGS Retriever. Both vessels carry cannons with 1,000-meter-plus precise-target air or marine-surface strike capability. On March 30, 1993, the MCG purchased a 210-ton Indian-built seaward defense boat. This vessel is armed with two Bofors 40/60 guns and carries a thirty-two-member crew. Acquisition of this boat improved the MCG's coastal surveillance capability. An Indian naval officer commands the MCG; an unknown number of MCG personnel have received training from Indian naval instructors.

Data as of August 1994