With 277 Personnel, Tanzania Forms Largest Group In SADC Standy Force Mission In Mozambique
The formal launch of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Standby Force Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) on 9 August clarified the resources it will bring to bear. The mission will consist initially of 738 soldiers and 19 civilian experts. The largest group will be from Tanzania, which, after some speculation that it would not be contributing, will send 277 personnel. There are indications from some sources that Tanzanian troops are already on the ground in Cabo Delgado.
South Africa is sending 270 troops, Botswana 108, Lesotho 70, and Angola 16. The presentation made no mention of the 304 Zimbabwean military trainers promised to the mission by the Zimbabwean defense minister in late July. The only Zimbabwean contribution referred to in the presentation was a single civilian expert. The force of 757 is a far cry from the 3,000 recommended by the SADC technical team in June, and even less than the 1,000 personnel deployed by Rwanda alone. The disparity may reflect struggles to fund the mission, as well as ongoing tensions between Mozambique and its fellow SADC members.
Meanwhile, Mozambique Defence Minister, Jaime Neto, Jaime Neto countered views that Tanzania was unwilling to help Mozambique fight terrorism, reiterating that Tanzanian troops were already supporting Mozambique and playing other important roles.
“Tanzania has extended solidarity to Mozambique several times, providing relevant information. We have been working together and they have been helping us identify the enemies who cross the border. Tanzania sent its force, in addition to providing resources for patrolling the coast – it made its ships available – and we think that his is significant support. This country knows why it has to support Mozambique. Tanzania knows that if there is no coordination and cooperation, this phenomenon could spread to its territory,” he explained.
Mozambique wants to avoid example from Afghanistan
Asked by the newspaper ‘O País’ about the relevance of Afghanistan as an example of failed foreign military intervention, Jaime Neto argued that Mozambique was doing its best to provide the Defence and Security Forces with equipment and training.
“The responsibility for defending a territory is that of the forces in that territory. In the case of Mozambique, the primary responsibility lies with our Defence and Security Forces. We have friendly forces here with us, who are here to support this fight, but we are constantly building the capacity of our force to ensure the continuity of the actions that are being carried out by the friendly forces. Obviously, it will not be from one day to the next that we will have this power. A period of three months was stipulated for the permanence of foreign troops, there then being conditions for them to withdraw. As long as we are capacitated, we will face the situation alone,” the Minister said.