Despite Terrorist Leader’s Death, South Africa Extends Deployment to Northern Mozambique

© Tshekiso Tebalo/XinhuaBotswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi sends off troops to Mozambique as part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana, July 26, 2021. The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will provide regional support to the Republic of Mozambique to combat the looming threat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in the Cabo Delgado region, as an element of the SADC Mission in Mozambique. A total of 296 BDF soldiers will be deployed in Mozambique, and 70 of them departed on Monday.
Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi sends off troops to Mozambique as part of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Standby Force at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana, July 26, 2021. The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will provide regional support to the Republic of Mozambique to combat the looming threat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in the Cabo Delgado region, as an element of the SADC Mission in Mozambique. A total of 296 BDF soldiers will be deployed in Mozambique, and 70 of them departed on Monday. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.10.2021
Subscribe
International
India
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) decided at a Tuesday summit in Pretoria that its standby force would remain deployed in Mozambique beyond the initial 90-day period of its authorization. The news comes despite the recent killing of a major rebel leader.
"Summit approved the extension of the SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) to continue with offensive operations against terrorists and violent extremists," read a laconic communique viewed by Reuters on Tuesday. The SADC mission was due to end on October 15; the communique did not spell out a time duration for the extension.
The 3,500-strong SADC force was authorized in June and deployed in July, arriving just days after a separate force sent by Rwanda for the same mission. Other countries and blocs have sent troops as well, including the European Union and Portugal, the latter of which ruled Mozambique as a colony for hundreds of years before it won independence in 1975.
The soldiers have been deployed to Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado Province following appeals for aid by Maputo. There, Muslim rebel groups, which have declared themselves aligned with Daesh* and captured several area towns, including a daring raid of the port of Palma in April.
The four-year conflict has sent more than 700,000 people fleeing to safety and more than 3,000 people killed, while major international gas projects nearby were put on permanent pause. The region is also home to mines that produce 40% of the world’s rubies, and both extraction operations are credited by experts with fueling local anger and desperation that underpins the rebellion.
On Sunday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi called on the rebels to surrender after the death of Awadhi Ndanjile, a senior leader in the lead rebel group Ansar as-Sunnah, known locally as al-Shabab (“The Youth”) but having no connection to the Somali group of the same name.
"We wanted to invite them not to wait for death ... this is not the intention of the defense and security forces," Nyusi said. "Surrender yourself ... because you have nowhere to go ... You are running from one forest to another being endlessly chased."
"We want our compatriots on our side, not the other side," he added.
In mid-August, Rwandan and SADC troops helped their Mozambican allies recapture the key port city of Mocímboa da Praia, al-Shabab’s chief stronghold, and the group has been in retreat ever since.
According to the Tuesday communique, three soldiers from the SADC mission had been killed, hailing from Botswana and Tanzania.
According to a report by France 24, Rwandan soldiers are also helping to protect the Afungi Liquefied Natural Gas Plant, a massive $20 billion project by French gas giant Total that is among the largest in Africa. Following al-Shabab’s attack on Palma, Total declared force majeure on Afungi, absolving them of potential liability costs associated with the conflict.

As Sputnik has reported, the conflict in Mozambique has long been exacerbated by the government’s inability to fund a military force large enough to take on the rebels, whose base is more than 1,500 miles from the capital of Maputo, which is located in the extreme south.

Emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund has come at a steep price: neoliberal economic restructuring, including strict budgetary cuts that have both exacerbated Cabo Delgado’s grinding poverty, as well as hamstrung Maputo’s military.

Nyusi, of the FRELIMO liberation group that led the country’s fight for independence and then triumphed in a civil war against rebels backed by Apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia, was long reluctant to allow foreign troops on Mozambican soil, but relented after the Palma attack. He has insisted that all troops deployed to help them fight al-Shabab operate with their permission and under their command.
*Daesh (also known as Islamic State/ISIS/IS) is a terror group, banned in Russia
Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала