SADC to hold security summit on Mozambique amid growing security threat

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Soldiers from the Mozambican army patrol the streets on 7 March 2018 in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique, after security in the area was increased, following a two-day attack from suspected islamists.
Soldiers from the Mozambican army patrol the streets on 7 March 2018 in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique, after security in the area was increased, following a two-day attack from suspected islamists.
PHOTO: Adrien Barbier/AFP
  • SADC will call an extraordinary summit in January so that heads of state can discuss the violence in the north of Mozambique.
  • There is growing concern about interference from outside the continent, but South Africa says it stands ready to help if asked.
  • South Africa will also host a special summit to discuss a strategy for acquiring and distributing Covid-19 vaccines in SADC.

Southern African heads of state have resolved to discuss the security situation in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province at a special summit early in the new year amid growing concern in the region about intervention from outside the continent.

This was decided at a meeting on Monday of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Defence and Security Troika, which included President Cyril Ramaphosa, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Tanzania's Deputy President Samia Suluhu was also present as some of the attacks have spilled over into Mozambique's neighbour. 

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi called the high-level meeting in Maputo after missing the last Troika meeting on the issue at the end of last month.

According to a short statement, in Portuguese, that followed the summit, the extraordinary summit in January is being called to, "... address the security situation in Mozambique". 

READ | SADC commits supports for Mozambique's terror threat, no word on violence in Zimbabwe

The meeting commended Nyusi for his, "... initiative to convene this event and expressed solidarity and support for Mozambique to tackle these challenges," according to the statement. 

Intervention 

The Mozambican government has been slow to recognise the increasing violence in the north of the country as a crisis that needs the intervention of its neighbours, and according to sources the Cabo Delgado situation was not discussed at length at this meeting.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, however, told journalists at a briefing on Monday that South Africa stood ready to help. "We would be able to provide support to a sovereign state as asked for by them because we cannot impose ourselves," she said. 

She also said, "... our own security forces stand ready to defend our country should the need arise". 

It is believed that the violence, which often resembles jihadist attacks, is related to the discovery of natural gas there.

Portugal and the European Union have recently offered to help Mozambique train its forces against the militants. 

Monday's meeting also resolved to have an extraordinary summit, hosted by South Africa, on a regional strategy for the acquisition and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

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