Global horror at Moz insurgents’ brutality at last forces SADC to act

The SADC is to hold a special meeting with the region’s defence leaders about a deadly insurgency in Mozambique that recently saw 50 civilians beheaded in a soccer field.

The SADC is to hold a special meeting with the region’s defence leaders about a deadly insurgency in Mozambique that recently saw 50 civilians beheaded in a soccer field.

A special meeting between SADC defence leaders to discuss the worsening security situation in northern Mozambique, where a deadly war is being waged against insurgents, is to be held on Friday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the regional body announced that an extraordinary meeting between the leaders of the organisation’s Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation Organ was to be held.

The organ is responsible for promoting peace and security in the region.

Read more: SADC holding meetings over” emerging peace and security issues in the region”

The meeting follows calls made earlier this month by Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, for the SADC to urgently intervene in Mozambique’s worsening security situation.

The calls were made days after Tanzania’s military launched rocket attacks on several Mozambique villages situated on the border of the two countries following deadly raids by insurgents into Tanzania.

Last week insurgents, after taking over several villages, beheaded 50 civilians. Among those believed to have been killed were priests and teachers.

Read more: Authorisation for EU mission to Mozambique is “key” to moving forward with support – Portugal’s Secretary of State for European Affairs

Mozambique’s security forces have since 2017 waged a deadly battle against an insurgency backed by Islamic militants in the country’s mineral and gas rich northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The violence has displaced more than 520,000 people and left thousands dead and maimed.

In its statement, the SADC said that on Friday, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, who chairs the body’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, would host an extraordinary troika summit.

The summit will include Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Botswana, Zimbabwe, SA and African countries contributing soldiers to the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade.

SA, along with Malawi and Tanzania, contributes troops to the brigade, which is fighting against rebel forces in the eastern DRC as part of a UN peacekeeping mission in that country.

SA has more than 1,000 soldiers in the brigade.

The SADC in its statement said the meeting was to discuss emerging peace and security issues in the region.

Institute for Security Studies security analyst Willem Else said since last week’s massacre of 50 people global pressure had been mounting on the SADC to respond to the security situation.

“The world took notice, especially of SADC’s nonresponse.”

He said three months ago the SADC’s peace and security troika requesting a roadmap from the Mozambican government on what was required to deal with the insurgency.

“The troika is still waiting for this map. With the humanitarian situation exploding, pressure is rapidly growing on SADC to ensure the insurgency is dealt with decisively.

“The problem is that any intervention that is planned will be delayed by at least four months. That’s because of the rainy season that is starting.

“When Mozambique’s rainy season strikes, nothing can move on the road. The fear is the insurgency will use this situation for the next four months – which is how long the rainy season lasts – to their advantage and expand their area of control.”

Else said that was already happening.

“Territory which the Mozambican government took back from insurgents last week, was this week retaken by the insurgents, who are now entrenching themselves and now rapidly expanding into new areas.”

He said the insurgents were also rapidly building up their force numbers.

Else said the SADC should have done more months ago.

“A security intervention has been left far too late.”

By Graeme Hosken

Source: TimesLive

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