Maputo, (New Ziana) – The Southern African Development Community regional group on Thursday directed “an immediate technical deployment” to Mozambique to help it ward off an Islamic insurgency in the gas-rich northern Cabo Delgado province.
An Extraordinary Double Troika Summit of the body convened in Maputo condemned the ongoing terrorist attacks that are being perpetrated against innocent civilians.
The Islamist insurgency has gone on for nearly four years, and is estimated to have claimed over 3 000 lives and displaced about 700 000 Mozambicans.
Thursday’s emergency meeting was called by Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who is the chair of the regional body’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa who make up the Troika.
Members of the regional body’s main Troika are Mozambique, the current chair of SADC, Malawi and Tanzania who are the incoming chair and past chair respectively.
After the meeting, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the regional body had “affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response.”
“The Double Troika Summit directed an immediate technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique, and the convening of an Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ by 28 April 2021 that will report to the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit on 29 April 2021,” she said in a communiqué.
The Summit had reaffirm SADC’s continued commitment to contribute towards the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development in the Republic of Mozambique, she said.
Mozambican President, Felipe Nyusi said late last year the country was open to any kind of support after the United States, Portugal and Ireland offered assistance to deal with the crisis.
The African Union recently sent a mission to Mozambique to assess “the practical ways in which the African Union could support the fight against terrorism” in that country.
The Extraordinary Double Troika was preceded by meetings of ministers of defence, security and intelligence as well as security chiefs in the respective countries.