SAMIM “neutralising terrorists”

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The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) has made progress against insurgents in Cabo Delgado province, neutralised terrorists and seizing weapons and military materiel used by Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ).

This is according to Professor Mpho Molomo, SAMIM Head of Mission, who was recently speaking on a panel for an Institute of Security Studies (ISS) seminar assessing the impact of foreign intervention on terrorism in the East African country.

Molomo told the seminar a SADC standby force rapid deployment capability was approved late in June. The force, he is reported as saying, is now fully operational with “some success gained”.

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The foreign intervention (SAMIM plus a Rwandan contingent), has been instrumental in stabilising the situation and assisting the FADM (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) to hold ground in “liberated” areas, allowing humanitarian and other assistance to be rolled out.

Military intervention resulted in many terrorists “neutralised”, their equipment and materiel seized, including strategic plans. Molomo sees this enabling Mozambique and its allied forces to fully appreciate the problem of Cabo Delgado and provide an opportunity to ascertain the terrorists’ identity and methods of operation.

Molomo said military intervention was instrumental in pacifying the region but is only one aspect of the situation.  There is a need to secure Cabo Delgado to ensure law and order, the rule of law, restoration of services including electricity and water, the re-opening of schools and a return to normalcy.

“SAMIM, Rwandan and Mozambican forces ensure there is a measure of stability and this allows government, with international co-operating partners and UN agencies, to roll out much-needed services and humanitarian assistance,” Molomo told the seminar.

The humanitarian problem in Cabo Delgado has a debilitating effect on people and the rapid deployment of SAMIM and other forces gives humanitarian aid agencies the chance to push back. At the same time the Mozambican government can rebuild and roll out infrastructure and financial assistance packages.

What will ultimately curb the insurgency in northern Mozambique, according to the Botswanan academic, is a political roadmap government has put in place. This requires up to $300 million for reconstruction and international partners to back this process.

It is essential for SADC to come on board and assist Mozambique through SAMIM because the regional bloc realises, if allowed to fester, terrorism can spread into the entire SADC region from Mozambique, Molomo said.

defenceWeb will on 16 November examine regional and international efforts to counter the violence in Mozambique, through a new virtual conference, with the theme ‘Developing a multi-theatre approach to restoring peace in Cabo Delgado’.

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