Regional leaders will meet Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi before the end of May to hear from him if he will accept a regional military intervention force in his country to tackle a growing Islamist insurgency.
Military experts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last month drafted a plan for a SADC force of nearly 3,000 troops, armed with helicopter gunships and warships, to defeat and dislodge the Islamic State-affiliated insurgency terrorising Mozambique’s northernmost province, Cabo Delgado.
The presidents of SADC’s security organ troika, comprising Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, were to meet President Nyusi at a summit in Maputo on April 29 to consider the intervention plan. But the summit was postponed indefinitely, because President Ramaphosa had domestic commitments and Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi was in precautionary COVID-19 quarantine.
The long wait for a determination on what to do about Mozambique has raised speculation that President Nyusi is not keen to allow a regional force into the country.
This week, Presidents Ramaphosa and Nyusi met a Financing Africa Summit in France, where they proposed a date for the SADC Security Organ Troika to meet, said South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor at a media conference in Paris.
After discussions with Botswana as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, a May date was agreed on and would be announced by the SADC Secretariat, Minister Pandor said.
“Mozambique does want SADC to be active in assisting to address this matter of the incursion by extremists in Cabo Delgado,” Minister Pandor added. – Daily Maverick-Agencies