Ramaphosa mum on possible Mozambique military deployment


With no date yet made public for another Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on Mozambique’s troublesome Cabo Delgado, the South African President is reported as saying regional leaders are dealing with the situation because violence there “could spill over” into some regional bloc countries.

Cyril Ramaphosa, also SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief and incoming chair of the SADC politics, defence and security co-operation organ, is reported by government broadcaster the SABC, as saying SADC is “prepared to assist Mozambique to fight the insurgency destabilising the north of (that) country”.

He did not elaborate on specific steps to be taken saying: “You don’t want to be involved in a war situation and tell your adversary you are coming, get ready for us. You don’t want to do that”.

“I know the media is interested. When are you going to send boots on the ground? When are you flying over? I am afraid you have to bear with us. That’s the type of sensitive information we have to keep quiet about,” SABC News quotes Ramaphosa as saying.

At a previous summit in the Mozambican capital SADC decided on another summit on the insurgency situation in Cabo Delgado which, apart from hundreds of deaths and thousands fleeing, has also seen work stopped on a multi-billion dollar gas exploitation project, headed by French energy giant Total.

SADC will meet again “before 20 June” on Mozambique. At the time of publishing no information about the summit, its date and venue were available.

An apparently leaked report by a SADC technical team that was in Cabo Delgado has it the regional bloc will send a multi-national force to South Africa’s eastern neighbour. The force will apparently consist of three light infantry battalions, each 620 strong, as well as a pair of Special Forces squadrons, each numbering 70 operators. In its ranks will be attack and other helicopters (numbers not specified) as well as maritime patrol vessels, a submarine and maritime patrol aircraft. Contributing countries, for both personnel and equipment, are not known at present.