The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) is to be downgraded from a full enforcement operation to a peacekeeping mission.
This was made public by South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor during a SADC troika minister’s meeting in Pretoria at the weekend.
Her statement reads, in part: “The Summit extended the mandate of SAMIM with additional capability requirements and additional integral personnel for a further three months, from 16 January to 15 April and thereafter de-escalation to Scenario Five up to 15 July 2022”.
In terms of African Union (AU) procedures, Scenario Six is a full enforcement mandate and Scenario Five a peacekeeping one.
SAMIM deployed in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado last July with troops and materiel from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. A thousand-strong contingent from Rwanda is also in the southern African country.
SADC member states have, according to Pandor’s opening remarks to the meeting, “pledged” the required combat equipment and personnel to support the mission. “An additional budget in support of the SAMIM operations was also approved.”
“Continued commitment and support of member states is commended. It signals the premium we attach to the fight against terrorism, which continues to threaten gains the region is making toward integration and socio-economic development. Member States’ efforts are not in vain,” the South African Cabinet Minister tasked with foreign relations said.
Other key decisions taken at the Summit were approval of a framework for support to Mozambique in addressing terrorism. This reportedly encompasses the thematic areas of politics and diplomacy; economic and social development; humanitarian assistance; military, information and intelligence; as well as public security, law and order.
“These are key steps that would lead to stabilisation of affected areas in Cabo Delgado province,” she told the meeting.
On the issue of continental and international support for the southern African regional bloc’s efforts to halt and terrorist activity by ASWJ (Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah), Pandor indicated the European Union (EU) approved funding for SAMIM to benefit from the AU early response mechanism under the auspices of the African Peace Facility (APF).
Her remarks to the meeting, carried on the DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Co-operation) website, confirm non-lethal equipment is available at “the continental logistics base”. This is presumably the AU logistics depot in Douala, Cameroon with Pandor urging follow-ups as the equipment is urgently required in Mozambique – “the [SAMIM] theatre of operations”.
“We commend co-operation among the forces on the ground. Despite progress, there continue to be challenges, including the need for the fulfilment of pledged capabilities and additional resources as this mandate will enter Scenario Five phase,” she said.
“There is indeed progress in all thematic areas, albeit witg challenges and capacity gaps. I trust our deliberations will assist in finding solutions and closing the gaps,” she said.
Pandor said they were pleased with the inauguration of the Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre on 28 February in Tanzania, as an important step toward strengthening regional security architecture, working in synergy with the Regional Early Warning Centre.