..As bloc postpones crucial summit
A Sadc technical assessment mission has recommended the immediate deployment of forces, to repel acts of extremism and terrorism in Mozambique.
It also recommended the provision of humanitarian assistance to find long lasting peace in the region.
“The SADC Technical Assessment Mission in Mozambique recommends the Defence and Security Cluster to adopt recommended course of action including the deployment of forces and provision of military support and training.
“In that regard, the assessment team proposes immediate deployment of SADC Standby Force in support of national armed forces of Mozambique (FADM) to combat threat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado,” reads a report signed by Brigadier Michael Mukokomani, Chief of Staff of the Sadc Stand by Force.
The team also recommended the immediate deployment of intelligence assets (land, air and maritime) and personnel be deployed in support of FADM intelligence in order to gain an in depth understanding of the terrorist activities.
The mission recommended that the Sadc Rapid Deployment comprised of Special Forces and naval assets to conduct targeted operations and eliminate maritime crime in the area of operation.
It said Sadc should establish a coordination mechanism in Maputo prior to the deployment of the Sadc Standby Force. Sadc, the mission said, should provide support (logistics and training) to strengthen FADM capability to combat terrorism.
Early this month, the Extraordinary Double Troika Summit directed that a technical assessment mission be deployed to Mozambique to undertake an assessment of the security situation. The team was deployed in Mozambique from April 15 to 21.
The technical assessment mission was made up of representatives from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Malawi and Tanzania.
The insurgency is taking a toll on Mozambique threatening investments.
This week, French energy group Total declared force majeure on its US$20bn liquefied natural gas project and withdrew its staff from the construction site in the wake of insurgent attacks.
The terrorists attacks has led to the death of thousands civilians while the number of internally displaced people has skyrocketed from 70 000 to 700 000.
There are reports that children as young as 11 have been beheaded in Mozambique by the militants who also overran the coastal town of Palma and occupied it for some days after defeating the Mozambican military.
The situation in Mozambique threatens to destabilise the Sadc region which has jolted the leaders into action.
Sadc leaders were supposed to meet today for an Extraordinary Troika Summit in which the technical assessment mission was supposed to present its reports. The bloc said the Sadc Extraordinary Troika Summit of the Organ plus Mozambique scheduled for today has been moved to a later date.
“This was after the leaders agreed on a postponement as a result of the unavailability of the SADC Organ Chairperson, His Excellency, President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, who is currently in quarantine, and the Incoming Chairperson, His Excellency President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa who is committed elsewhere,” the bloc said in a statement last night.
“The Sadc Extraordinary Troika Summit of the Organ plus Mozambique was expected to receive a report of the Technical Assessment Team that was deployed in Mozambique following the decisions of the Sadc Extraordinary Double Troika Summit held on 8th April 2021.”
During its meeting on April 8, the Sadc Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government noted with concern, the acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians, women and children in some districts of Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique and reaffirmed Sadc’s continued commitment to contribute towards bringing lasting peace and security.
The Summit further condemned the terrorist attacks in strongest terms, and affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response, the bloc said.