A panel discussion at defenceWeb’s Countering the Insurgency in Mozambique event today explained the role of external forces in Cabo Delgado.
Professor Francois Very, associate professor of military strategy at the University of Stellenbosch, highlighted the importance of maritime security in the conflict. Mozambique has a very weak maritime capability and securing the Cabo Delgado coastline with the help of international partners could be vital to securing the region in the future.
Expert terrorism analyst, Jasmine Opperman, said the Islamic State (IS) is a Southern African reality that cannot be ignored. The relationship between IS and the insurgency is not understood and that could be detrimental to Southern Africa. A patient, encompassing counter-terrorism strategy is needed to fight the insurgency. Opperman questions the external forces and Maputo’s relationship and perseverance, adding that as long as the insurgency continues, security issues will not go away.
Johann Smith, Director, Heracles Consulting, said he doesn’t see SAMIM and Rwandan forces withdrawing quickly especially as Iraqification of the Palma region is underway. He warned that there is an uptick in insurgent attacks in recent days. Islamic State has claimed half a dozen attacks in the last week, bringing the total to 60 attacks claimed.
Smith gave the Southern African Development Community credit for deploying quickly to Mozambique but warned that there is no end to the deployment in sight. “The insurgency is not a spent force,” he said.