SADC gets tough on Moza situation

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Gaborone (New Ziana) – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Friday said it will soon finalise a comprehensive regional response to the growing Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique.

This came out of an extra-ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation held in Gaborone, Botswana.

The meeting, which was attended by leaders from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe’s President Emerson Mnangagwa as the current, incoming and outgoing Chair of the Organ respectively, tackled the security situation in northern Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In a communiqué at the end of the one day meeting, the SADC Troika noted with concern, the acts of terrorism in the region, particularly in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province and expressed continued SADC solidarity with Maputo.

“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit directed the finalization of a comprehensive regional response and support to the Republic of Mozambique to be considered urgently by the Summit,” read part of the communiqué.

Earlier, SADC Troika chairman Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the continued existence of Islamist insurgencies in Mozambique posed a security threat to the entire region.

“At our last Troika summit that was held on 14 August 2020, we endorsed the report on the assessment of security threats to the SADC region. Even though the report identified a number of security threats, it singled out terrorism as the most serious threat that needs urgent attention from all the member states. As we all know, terrorism is very cancerous in nature, once it finds fertile ground it spreads out like a bushfire. There is therefore an absolute need to urgently nip it in the bud before it engulfs the entire region,” he said.

The insurgency by the Islamic State-affiliated extremist group known as Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah
in northern Mozambique started in 2017 and has intensified this year, resulting in the death and displacement of thousands of people

President Masisi said other security threats in the region included cyber crime and transnational organised crime.

“Even though the region’s performance in the areas of democracy and peace remains the envy of many, there are some emerging issues that are threatening the preservation of our peace and security these include terrorism, insurgencies, cyber crime and transnational organised crimes.

“By their very nature, these are not issues that member states can individually deal with as such there is a need for an integrated and coordinated regional approach to effectively deal with these threats. This is the main reason we are meeting today.”

Meanwhile, the Troika also discussed the security situation in the DRC.

“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit accepted the proposal by the United Nations to realign the current Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) troops strength to create the headroom for the Quick Reaction Forces (QRFs), and generate two QRFs from the SADC Troops Contributing Countries.
“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit expressed appreciation to the United Nations for the continued partnership and support. The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit pledged regional support to the development and implementation of the Joint Strategy on the Progressive and Phased Drawdown of MONUSCO in the DRC.”
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