SADC reaffirms its support to Mozambique in fighting terrorism.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Southern African Development Community will continue to support Mozambique in its efforts to fight terrorism in the State’s Cabo Delgado province.
This as SADC convened an Extraordinary Summit of the Organ Troika of the Heads of State and Government where it agreed to continue its military mission to curb insurgency and violence in that country.
Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region in the north of the country has faced instability since 2017.
This came into sharp focus in March this year when an alleged Islamist extremist militant group raided the oil-rich town of Palma, where an unknown number of people were killed, including 112 people who were brutally beheaded, with thousands of others forced to flee.
In his closing address to the summit,Ramaphosa reiterated the region’s commitment to securing peace in that country following SADC’s intervention in July this year.
"We say that Mozambique will never walk alone. We will always be there to walk with Mozambique and indeed SADC as a family is determined to walk with any of its member countries whenever the need arises."
Ramaphosa said although the military mission has recorded some gains, more still needs to be done to help Mozambique secure the area.
"Progress has been made and we have been able, as a region, to make a meaningful contribution in securing and helping to secure peace and security in Mozambique as we continue to do so.
"Whilst progress has been registered in the operation of the SADC mission…more ground will still need to be covered. The coming few months are therefore going to be critical in shaping the future trajectory of the SADC intervention in the districts of Cabo Delgado."
In a communique, the SADC announced that it will not only continue SADC’s military mission – which was due to expire this month – but also provide humanitarian support.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, nearly 70 000 people are in need of this support as they have been displaced since fleeing the area in March - bringing the total number of those displaced since 2020 to nearly 800 000.
"[The] summit approved the extension of the [mission] to continue with offensive operations against terrorists and violent extremists to consolidate stability of security and create a conducive environment for resettlement of the population and facilitate humanitarian assistance operations and sustainable development,"the communique said.