Mozambican body burning video will be investigated – SADC

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The regional body which authorised the multinational military deployment to Mozambique to combat terrorism – the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – has added its voice to others expressing disgust and revulsion at a social media video clip purporting to depict soldiers burning bodies.

Namibian President, Hage Geingob, who chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, said in a statement yesterday (Thursday, 12 January), he noted “with regret” the video clip and “informs the general public SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) leadership instituted investigations to establish the circumstances of the matter, a result of which will be shared once completed”.

He emphasised the southern African regional bloc does not condone the acts reflected in the video and, once investigations are completed, SADC will take appropriate measures in line with the international Law of Armed Conflict.

“The SAMIM force has always conducted itself in a professional, efficient and responsible manner in line with applicable laws and the rules of engagement governing SAMIM operations.

“On behalf of SADC and myself, I reiterate SADC’s commitment to peace and security in the region.

“In this regard, SADC will continue to support Mozambique, through SAMIM, in combatting terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province by neutralising the terrorist threat and restoring security to create a secure environment and pave the way for sustainable development of Mozambique and the SADC region,” the statement has it.

The offending video clip, showing a number of soldiers in different bush uniforms throwing unidentified bodies on to a pile of burning debris, was apparently shot in the wake of a SAMIM attack on an ASWJ (Al Sunnah Wa Jama’ah) base. It was, according to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate Corporate Communication (DCC) “apparently” taken in November.

SADC countries contributing troops and equipment to SAMIM are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. All work in collaboration with the Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique (FADM) and a thousand strong contingent of Rwandan soldiers and support personnel.