SANF 21 no 43 – by Clarkson Mambo
SADC remains fully committed to support Mozambique in addressing instability in the northern part of the country.
The Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Organ Troika plus Mozambique met on 5 September in South Africa and agreed to extend the regional military mission in Mozambique beyond the initial three months.
The SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) was deployed 9 July following a decision by a SADC Summit held in June in Maputo, and its mandate was due to end 15 October.
The Organ Troika extended the mission by another three months.
“Summit approved the extension of the SAMIM to continue with offensive operations against terrorists and violent extremists to consolidate stability of security and create a conducive environment for resettlement of the population and facilitate humanitarian assistance operations and sustainable development,” reads part of the communique released soon after the Extraordinary Summit of the Organ Troika plus Mozambique.
The Organ Troika “commended the SAMIM leadership and their troops for the remarkable achievements made since the deployment of the Mission in July,” as well as “commended Member States that have contributed personnel, equipment and financial resources for the deployment of the SAMIM in support of Mozambique to combat acts of terrorism and violent extremism.”
Northern Mozambique has experienced increased acts of extremism, terrorism and insurgency, prompting a regional response from SADC due to potential threats to peace in the region.
According to the United Nations, more than 3,000 people have been killed while 800,000 have been displaced since the beginning of the insurgency in 2017.
Speaking at the Extraordinary Summit, the current chair of the Organ Troika, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said it is critical for the region to collectively address peace and security issues.
“While the political and the security situation in the SADC region is relatively peaceful and stable, the region has and continues to experience its share of peace and security challenges,” President Ramaphosa said.
“Therefore, the work of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security whose key objective is to promote peace and security within the region is vital.”
He said security challenges in northern Mozambique if not collectively addressed “have the potential to threaten the stability of the region.”
The new SADC Executive Secretary, Elias Magosi concurred, saying peace and security were the foundational cornerstones for the achievement of the region’s socio-economic development, poverty eradication and regional integration, in pursuit of the Vision 2050, and as enabled by the 2020 – 2030 Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).
“I am glad to report that, since its deployment, the Mission has registered considerable progress, with life returning to normal in some parts of the region,” Magosi said.
“This is commendable, thanks to the work of the SADC forces on the ground.”
In its September update, the SAMIM said it had cleared several key towns which had been captured by the insurgents.
The SAMIM also raided and destroyed an Ahlu Sunna Wa-Jama (AWSJ) base and recovered vehicles, weapons and documents.
The AWSJ has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks in Cabo Delgado.
Speaking after the Extraordinary Summit, President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique said the extension of the military intervention would “ensure full clearance of the areas freed from the terrorists and establish security, as some of the territories had been occupied for over a year.”
Continued presence of the regional military would also allow for reconstruction of infrastructure and safe return of displaced people.
The Extraordinary Summit was attended by the deputy chair of the Organ Troika, President Hage Geingob of Namibia and the previous chair, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, as well as President Nyusi.
The SADC Organ Troika is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region, and is coordinated at the level of Summit, reporting to the SADC Summit.
The Organ structure, operations and functions are established by the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. sardc.net
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