SADC updated on its DR Congo and Mozambique missions

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With one regional bloc peace mission winding up ahead of a July closure and another in the operationalisation process, a weekend Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit noted updates on peace and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique as well as repeating the bloc’s support for “lasting peace, stability and security”.

A lengthy 850 plus word communique makes no mention of, for example, what is happening to SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) with four months to go ahead of mission closure.

In similar vein there is no information on troop and equipment movements from the three countries – Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania – which to date have committed to SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in DRC).

The communique has it “summit received updates on the peace and security situation in DRC and Mozambique and reiterated SADC’s support to the two governments towards attaining lasting peace, stability and security” adding the regional bloc “commended” the three troop contributing countries (TCCs). Appreciation was also noted for the men and women deployed in both SADC missions.

The cumbersomely named “Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Organ Troika Plus SADC Troika, Troops Contributing Countries to the SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC), Personnel Contributing Countries to the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Mozambique” re-affirmed its commitment to the SADC Mutual Defence Pact. It reads, in part, “an armed attack against one shall be deemed a threat to regional peace and security” and commended member states “demonstrating the spirit of collective regional solidarity through continued contributions and support to SAMIM and SAMIDRC”.

Eleven of SADC’s 16 member countries attended the summit in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. They were Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

While the SADC provided little clarity on the future of SAMIM, Mozambique’s Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo was reported yesterday as saying SAMIM will indeed depart in July, due to a lack of funds.

“SAMIM is facing some financial problems. We also have to take care of our own troops, and we would have difficulty paying for SAMIM”, she is reported by local media as saying. “Our countries are not managing to raise the necessary money”.

Macamo was speaking after a meeting in Lusaka between Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and his Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, who is the current chairperson of the SADC body on Cooperation in Politics, Defence and Security.

Macamo told the media that, given its budgetary limitations, the SADC had opted to prioritise its mission in the DRC above SAMIM.

“For Mozambique, if other countries continue to support us with material, including lethal material, we can effectively overcome terrorism”, she said. However, gains against insurgents have been reversed to some extent by recent insurgent attacks, which have displaced thousands of Mozambicans.