Special SADC force has neutralised insurgents in Mozambique, says Ramaphosa

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has thanked the SADC Standby Mission in Mozambique for "neutralising" insurgents in Cabo Delgado.
  • Talking tough, the president said there was no room for terrorism in southern Africa.
  • Like Rwanda, SADC has seen an improvement in life returning to normal in the gas and oil-rich region.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says credit should go to the SADC Standby Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) for neutralising terrorism in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

He said six months after SAMIM was deployed life was returning to normal, with internally displaced people returning to their homes and relief food moving swiftly to support affected households.

Ramaphosa said terrorism had no place in southern Africa.

"Terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of our region as its presence will reverse the stability and progress SADC has achieved in its four decades of existence," he said while addressing the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Lilongwe, Malawi.

READ | Is this the man behind the Mozambique insurgency?

As chair of the SADC organ, Ramaphosa thanked member states for providing their troops and financial contributions in fighting insurgents in the gas and oil-rich Mozambican province.

A similar assessment was made on Monday by the army heads of Mozambique and Rwanda, a non-SADC member state, when they met in Kigali. They agreed to strengthen military cooperation in Cabo Delgado. Rwanda said a notable return to normal life was because of their joint operation with Mozambicans.

South Africa deployed 300 special forces to Cabo Delgado while Zimbabwe sent 304 defence instructors. Although no official figures were available, military experts said there were an estimated 1 000 soldiers on the SAMIM, drawn from Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

READ | Displaced people survive by eating grass amid discrimination in Mozambique

But Rwanda alone has a bigger contingent on the ground, comprising 2 500 military personnel. For Rwanda, despite wide-ranging denials in the past two years, Maputo and Kigali have signed a raft of trade and economic agreements.

When Rwanda sent its forces a month ahead of SADC last year, some reports stated the Rwandan Defence Force was primarily protecting the gas sites owned by French firm Total. But on Rwandan state television on 5 September President Paul Kagame said, "Nobody sponsored us" amid speculation that France was behind Rwanda's mission in Cabo Delgado.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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