Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday challenged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby force to build much stronger coordination on the “operational theatre”, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and strictly comply with the outlined strategic responsibility.
Nyusi, who is the current SADC Chairperson, made the call at the official launch ceremony of the regional standby force, which currently consists of over 700 troops who, over the next three months, will be engaged in infantry, air, naval, intelligence, logistical and other missions on the ground in a bid to swiftly restore peace in the region.
The deployment of the standby force, consisting of troops from South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho and Tanzania, for a combat mission budgeted at over 12 million US dollars, marks, Nyusi said, a regional determination to fight and eradicate terrorism.
“We demand greater communication and exchange of operational information on the ground, more discipline and respect for human life which is already the characteristic and centuries-old tradition of the regional combatants,” Nyusi added. He encouraged the standby force to strengthen relationships with local communities through direct humanitarian support whenever possible.
Nyusi also called on Mozambicans to be friendly hosts to the men from sister countries who have sworn to give their lives in solidarity with Mozambique. “We must look at each of the contingent on the ground as a son or brother of Mozambique who lives in a country that shares values of solidarity with Mozambique”, he declared
Nyusi also highlighted the latest progress the Mozambican defence and security forces, fighting shoulder to shoulder with Rwandan forces, have recorded.
The joint Mozambican and Rwandan forces had made major advances in Palma and Mocimboa da Praia districts, culminating on Sunday with the recapture of Mocimboa da Praia town, which had been in terrorist hands since August 2020.
Nyusi urged the forces on the ground to fully clear the enemy from the triangle connecting Macomia, Awasse and Quissanga, and the corridor between Muidumbe and Mangaleua; as well as the need to close once and for all the Nangade strategic line, and consolidate the gains achieved “with courage and determination” .
“Mozambique and the Mozambicans nurture expectations with your presence for the protection of people, goods, infrastructures as well for ending the killings by the enemies of peace and progress”, Nyusi said. He added that his government will spare no effort to ensure peace in Cabo Delgado and in every other part of the country’s territory.
He reaffirmed the commitment to fight collectively and in coordination transnational threats such terrorism and violent extremism, in a partnership between Mozambique’s own Defence and Security forces, the SADC standby force, and the Rwandan troops.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, who is the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, said the deployment mirrors the comradeship among the member states and is the reaffirmation of regional commitment.
The standby force, Masisi added, has as its prime mandate to support Mozambique’s efforts in the fight against terrorism, and pave the way for the fulfilment of the regional development agenda. (AIM/TVM)