South African President Cyril Ramaphosa could shed no new light on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approach to ongoing Islamist violence in northern Mozambique during a Parliamentary question and answer session on Thursday.
He told parliamentarians in a virtual session an Extraordinary Double Troika Summit of SADC scheduled for 29 April was postponed and a new date is yet to be announced.
“The conflict in Cabo Delgado province has caused great death, suffering and trauma to the people in the area. It has not only damaged the local economy, but also threatens stability in the broader region.
“It is vital the countries of the Southern African region and the African continent assist in ending the conflict and addressing the social, economic and political factors fuelling the violence,” Ramaphosa told the National Assembly, adding AU chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said the continental body strongly condemned terrorist attacks in South Africa’s eastern neighbour.
Unconfirmed reports have it the southern African regional bloc will send a force to Mozambique. It will reportedly comprise three light infantry battalions of 620 soldiers each and two 70-strong Special Forces squadrons as the vanguard of an SADC force to “combat and neutralise” insurgents in northern Mozambique. An unnamed number of attack and other helicopters as well as patrol ships, a submarine and a maritime aircraft to patrol the Cabo Delgado coast will also be part of the force. The maritime component of the deployment is reportedly to intercept supplies for the insurgents and combat criminal trafficking, believed to be a source of financing for the insurgency.