Southern Africa Bloc Edges Toward Intervening in Mozambique
The Southern African Development Community made progress in plans to help Mozambique fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency by agreeing on a concerted effort to deal with the violence that’s indefinitely delayed Africa’s biggest private investment.
Regional ministers “unanimously agreed on the need to act urgently as a collective, to quell the terrorist activities in Cabo Delgado” in northern Mozambique, according to a speech by Botswana Foreign Minister Lemogang Kwape, who’s also the chairman of the SADC organ on defense and security.
“We agreed on a comprehensive strategy for our collective response to the security situation in Mozambique, which will also facilitate humanitarian assistance,” Kwape said before a heads of state meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday was postponed indefinitely. The leaders were due to decide on a course of action after a SADC technical team visited Mozambique to come up with recommendations.
Militants carried out a major attack last month on a Mozambican town close to Total SE’s $20 billion liquefied natural gas project that prompted the company to declare force majeure, suspending contractual obligations because of events outside of its control. That raises questions about the future of the project that Mozambique had pegged much of its economic prospects on.
Mozambique’s government has so far resisted outside military intervention, and it’s unclear whether President Filipe Nyusi and his ruling Frelimo party would agree to SADC’s plan. The violence that began in 2017 has killed at least 2,800 people and caused more than 700,000 others to flee their homes.
A document purporting to make recommendations by the bloc’s technical team that visited Mozambique this month suggested sending 2,916 personnel to fight the insurgency. It also included proposals to send drones, helicopters and even a submarine to the region.
SADC dismissed the report as unauthorized, according to spokeswoman Barbara Lopi.
The person who produced the document used information that was “picked from some unknown sources,” she said Wednesday. “It’s not an official SADC document or information.”