The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) has captured an Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) insurgent base South of Messalo River in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province in the latest military success reported by the Mission.
SAMIM forces supported Forcas Armadas de Defesa de Mocambique (FADM) soldiers on 14 September in launching an offensive operation and capturing the base, SAMIM announced on the weekend.
“The base is believed to be known as ‘Sheik Ibrahim Base’ and was used as a training camp by the insurgency group,” SAMIM spokesperson Major Nathalie Mfaladi stated.
Light and heavy weapons were seized after being left behind by the insurgents. SAMIM forces also discovered a significant volume of military training materials, including communication devices and video content.
“This capture and discovery will provide more insight on the operations of the insurgency group and provide SADC countries with information on the threat level of terrorism and extremism in the region,” SAMIM said.
During the attack, three elderly women were rescued and have since been handed over to the national authorities for identification and care.
“SAMIM forces in support of the Government of Mozambique continue to create conditions necessary for a return to normal life in the Province of Cabo Delgado as it pursues the insurgents. SAMIM would like to assure the people of Mozambique and SADC of a collective commitment to achieving a peaceful, stable and secure Cabo Delgado as well as the entire country of Mozambique,” the SAMIM statement concluded.
The announcement comes after SAMIM earlier this month said almost continuous patrols have brought calm and stability to at least three areas of Cabo Delgado.
A statement from Mission headquarters in Pemba last week said public confidence is “restored” and there is a resumption of economic activities in Mueda, Macomia and Nangade districts.
“SAMIM forces opened roads from Pemba to Macomia, Awasse, Mueda and Nangade restoring public confidence that the risk of attack is low due to consistent patrols by SAMIM forces and the Forcas Armadas de Defesa de Mocambique,” SAIMIM said in a statement.
“Roads blocked by insurgents since the armed conflict started were used strategically to capture and isolate towns from outside assistance. Opening these roads saw citizens returning to their places of residence.”
Another plus from the operationalisation of the multi-national Southern African Development Community (SADC) force is the return of electricity to Mueda after a year without power. The electricity supply was apparently cut or destroyed during an insurgent attack on Awasse, site of a major sub-station.
“The return of electricity has seen banking and telecommunication services operational again which will pave the way for transport as well as movement of goods and services without fear of attack,” the statement has it, adding SAMIM forces “continue to create conditions necessary for a return to normal in Cabo Delgado province”.
The multi-national SAMIM, with military equipment and personnel at present from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Tanzania in its ranks, moved into Mozambique starting late in June and through July. Also in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where insurgents are based, is a thousand-strong contingent of Rwandan troops.
In addition to putting a hold on insurgent activities, SAMIM is tasked with humanitarian support to the Mozambican government and humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), working in particularly the Cabo Delgado area where indications are more than 800 000 people are displaced in addition to thousands killed since 2019.
defenceWeb will on 16 November examine regional and international efforts to counter the violence in Mozambique, through a new virtual conference, with the theme ‘Developing a multi-theatre approach to restoring peace in Cabo Delgado’.