Mozambique is the sole agenda item for Friday’s first Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the year.
The virtual summit follows seven meetings of various SADC committees, organs and troikas in the lead-up to reviewing the mandate and progress of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).
SAMIM was deployed to the east African country mid-last year as the major component of a regional effort to dislodge Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) insurgents, called “terrorists” in official SAMIM military communiques, from Cabo Delgado province.
Ahead of the summit, to be chaired by Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, the seven SADC committees, organs, troikas and an extraordinary regional bloc council of ministers, were and are holding meetings. While not specified in a SADC statement, the meetings are all believed to concentrate on Mozambique.
The meetings, also apparently virtual one, involve experts of the Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC) and another of the committee itself; senior officials of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ and the ministerial committee itself; the extraordinary SADC Organ Troika Summit; the extraordinary Finance Committee and the extraordinary Council of Ministers.
A key issue on the virtual table is “support for effective operation of SAMIM objectives to bring peace and stability in Cabo Delgado”.
South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor last month told a media briefing SAMIM’s mandate to continue offensive operations against terrorists and violent extremists was extended without providing a timeline.
Eight SADC countries – Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia – currently have troops and other military personnel detached to the mission. While not part of SADC, Rwanda has a thousand troops assisting FADM (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) in ongoing efforts to oust ASWJ from northern Mozambique.
Since it became operational under the command of South African Major General Xolani Mankayi, SAMIM recorded casualties and fatalities from Botswana, Tanzania and most recently, South Africa. Corporal Tebogo Radebe, a 31-year-old 5 Special Forces Regiment operator, died in an ambush near Chai village on 20 December. On the credit side of the ledger, SAMIM killed and took an unknown number of insurgents captive during raids on bases and camps which netted arms as well as information.