The assassination of the Lesotho Defence Force chief at the beginning of September saw a flurry of diplomatic and other activity from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with talks of up to a battalion strength force being deployed to the mountain kingdom.
This week an SADC communique confirms there will not be a major, multi-national force moving into the landlocked to country – instead a contingent force has been earmarked for the tasking.
The communique notes the force will comprise 269 personnel from seven SADC member states made up of military, intelligence, police and civilian components and it will be initially deployed for six months. Each component will provide the necessary support to Lesotho as per its area of expertise.
Seven of SADC’s 15 member states – Angola, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are contributing to the contingent.
The contingent force is in accordance with the SADC Standby Force roster, pledged by contributing member states and will be headed by Angola, current chair of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
“Following the assassination of the former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lieutenant General Khoantlhe Motšomotšo on September 5, the SADC Double Troika Summit met on September 15 in Pretoria, considered the report from the Ministerial Fact Finding Mission sent to the Kingdom of Lesotho on September 7and took the decision to deploy a contingent force,” according to the communique.
More detail is expected next Tuesday (November 28) when, according to SADC, “the deployment will be officially launched at a press conference in Maseru”.