SADC leaders put on display of unity over Mozambique insurgency

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SADC leaders have shown unity over insurgency attacks in Mozambique.
SADC leaders have shown unity over insurgency attacks in Mozambique.
Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Leaders of the Southern African Development Community are meeting in Maputo to discuss the insurgency in Mozambique.
  • Botswana's president stressed the need for a unified response to the terror threat.
  • Mozambique’s president maintained the need for consultations before any implementation.

Southern African leaders put forward a show of unity on Thursday as they discussed a solution to the Mozambican insurgency.

Leaders of the South African Development Community's (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security met with Mozambique in a closed session to discuss the recommendations of a technical committee that assessed the threat in the country in April.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with current organ chairperson, Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi, and outgoing chairperson, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa met with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi in the Extraordinary Troika Summit.

"We can all attest that it is a key responsibility of any president to keep his or her people safe," said Masisi.

READ | SA security firm evacuates 230 people via helicopter from Mozambique

"It is, therefore, my fervent hope that the recommendations before us will provide us with a solution for exactly that - to keep our people safe."

Mozambique has in the past rebuffed regional intervention. The March attacks in Palma, and the extraordinary summit that followed, marked a turning point.

Masisi said:

During our extraordinary summit of April 2021, we spoke with one voice, that now is the time to act, and act collectively, and decisively as we send a message to these faceless terrorists.

Nyusi, speaking before the next closed session which included Tanzania and Malawi, said the meeting was "a singular moment of our common objectives".

The leaders will now discuss the decisions taken by the troika.

"We are all aware that the adoption of measures to combat terrorism and violent extremism in our region requires all of us to draw inspiration from the past and a deep understanding of the new dynamics to better devise co-ordinated actions. This exercise is premised on consultations," added Mozambique's president.

READ | Mozambique attacks: SA man uses AK-47 he found in abandoned government vehicle to ward off insurgents

The April summit of ministers received a report that recommended the deployment of nearly 3 000 SADC Special Forces troops. Yet, while SADC positioned the issue as a regional threat, which must be managed by the leaders of southern Africa, Mozambique's president has sought help from further afield.

Last month, Nyusi met with Rwanda President Paul Kagame who reportedly also sent an assessment team to Cabo Delgado.

Deployed

He also met with France's Emmanuel Macron in May, while his defence minister met with his Portuguese counterpart. Portugal has already deployed a military training team to Mozambique following the Palma attacks.

Analysts have warned that while Mozambique appeared to be more open to regional intervention, the country was unlikely to accept any help perceived as compromising its sovereignty.

The summit also saw the establishment of the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre, which will be hosted in Mozambique. Another extraordinary summit will be held on 20 June, again in Mozambique.

Since 2017, the conflict has displaced more than 700 000 people and more than 2 500 civilians have been killed.

The News 24 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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