The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last month urged its members to support Mozambique in efforts to overcome “terrorists and armed groups” in Cabo Delgado.
South Africa, by way of defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, was this week not confirming or denying it would provide military assistance to its eastern neighbour. During a meeting of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) she is reported to have said “deployment of (South African) Special Forces to Mozambique will only be discussed behind closed doors”.
According to News24 Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed “there are challenges with Mozambique”.
“Whether Mozambique asked for help is another matter.”
News agency reports last month have South African international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor said her country was “in talks” with Mozambique about assistance.
At the same time a SADC communique following an “extraordinary organ troika (on politics, defence and security co-operation)” in Harare called on the bloc to support Mozambique in its fight against terrorists and armed groups. It also condemned terrorist and other armed attacks as per the SADC declaration on terrorism and the AU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.
Attacks by Ansar al-Sunna, now identified as part of Islamic State, have claimed over a thousand lives in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province and the site of a major offshore gas find. There have also been reports of private military contractors (PMCs) involved in fighting the insurgents.