Mozambique: Joint SADC Military Mission Warns that Terrorism Could Spread Throughout the Region

    The spokesman for the Joint Southern African Military Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) has said that terrorism in Cabo Delgado was “multifaceted” and warned of the danger of it spreading throughout the south of the continent.

    “Terrorism in northern Mozambique can spread to the entire southern region if it is not contained and dealt with,” Mpho Molomo said in a video conference address at a webinar promoted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria on the intervention of foreign forces to combat insurgency in Cabo Delgado [Will foreign intervention save Cabo Delgado?].

    “The regional military intervention has made it possible to pacify the region, but it is clear that there is an external element, because some insurgents are from outside, and there is also a clear indication of some local demonstrations,” he stressed.

    Mpho Molomo said that “success” in the war in Cabo Delgado involves “several approaches,” particularly the “reconstruction” of the region, noting that “the Mozambican government has developed a reconstruction programme requiring US$300 million (257 million euros) and is working with other international partners to implement that process.

    SAMIM, whose mandate also includes support for humanitarian operations, arrived on the ground on August 9 and announced it was fully operational on September 3.

    “Around 800,000 people have been displaced, the humanitarian situation is catastrophic and the action of foreign military forces has been instrumental in stabilising the Cabo Delgado region in order to implement social development projects,” he said.

    However, he noted that “wars of this kind take a long time and reconstruction is not something that can be achieved in a short period of time”.

    On the duration of military intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Molomo said that “it is a political decision that the heads of state have to take.

    More than 20 countries are helping Mozambique in the fight against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to the Pretoria Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

    An ISS study, released on Monday, warns that coordination between the various foreign military missions and adaptation of the training to be provided to the Mozambican armed forces “is vital to ensure effective responses”.

    Mozambican researcher Borges Nhamirre considered that Mozambique cannot defeat an insurgency with an “exclusively military” intervention.

    “We need a comprehensive approach beyond military intervention, because the problem is not yet fully resolved,” he stressed.

    He highlighted the inclusion of a “strong component of discipline and respect for human rights” in the training of the Mozambican Armed Forces.

    Borges Nhamirre also questioned the Mozambican government’s “lack of transparency” about the separate positioning of the various foreign military forces on the ground in Cabo Delgado, including the terms of intervention.

    “Recently, in Parliament, MPs questioned the terms of the agreements established between the Government, Rwanda and the European Union,” he said.

    “The Government should publicly disclose the terms of those agreements,” he said.

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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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