South African troops land in Mozambique

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SANDF special forces arriving in Mozambique for the SADC mission.
SANDF special forces arriving in Mozambique for the SADC mission.
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  • An image shows special forces, military vehicles, and equipment offloaded in Mozambique.
  • The deployment comes days after the official D-Day.
  • It is not clear to what extent SANDF deployment in South Africa will affect the Mozambique response.

A contingent of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) arrived in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. 

An image circulating showed an SANDF plane offloading soldiers, military vehicles, and equipment. The troops are believed to be special forces who will form part of the Southern African Development Community's Standby Force.

The soldiers, according to sources in Mozambique, are believed to have arrived on Monday in the coastal city of Pemba.

The Standby Force was meant to deploy on 15 July. Just two days before the D-Day, Mozambique had not yet signed the status of forces agreement that would authorise regional boots on the ground, said Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

READ | Mozambique dithers over deployment of SADC force

Mozambique's defence minister Jaime Neto told agencies Mozambique had signed the document last week, and dispatched what serves as a formal request to SADC headquarters in Gaborone on Wednesday.

Over the weekend, SADC released an image of Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax formally handing over the instruments of authority to a South African general, identified only as the force commander. 

"The presentation of instruments of authority, follows the approval by the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government to deploy a SADC Standby Force to the Republic of Mozambique in support of Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado," SADC said.

READ | #UnrestSA likely behind delay of SADC mission to Mozambique

Further details of the force are still unclear. It is also not clear to what extent the SANDF’s internal deployment to respond to the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng will affect South Africa's role in Mozambique.

The department of defence as well as the SANDF did not respond to requests for comment.

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 Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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