Pan African business forum calls for swift regional action on Mozambique
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PRETORIA, April 12 (ANA) - The Pan African Business Forum (PABF) has called for swift intervention by the southern African region in the crisis in Mozambique, which has been hit by Islamist-linked terror attacks in its gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The humanitarian catastrophe in northern Mozambique is worsening and urgent intervention by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African union is long overdue, the business lobby group said.
PABF, which last week appointed Martins Santana Antonio as special envoy to Mozambique, said peace and stability was essential in Mozambique so that business could return to normal and prevent the country from sinking deeper into an economic quagmire.
“It’s the responsibility of SADC to come together and give the best support Mozambique needs and it must be with all they can, because if they allow one more day of chaos then it will show that we (are) not ready to deliver as Africans,” Antonio said.
“It’s very critical and first priority for us to see the problems in Mozambique resolved and without costing more lives as we continue to see. We will mobilise resources where necessary to help Mozambique.”
SADC heads of state met in the Mozambican capital Maputo last week and agreed to send a technical team to Mozambique, following recent attacks which have killed several people. In a communiqué, the regional leaders called for proportionate action against the attacks.
The summit was convened by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi who currently chairs SADC’s organ on politics, defence and security cooperation.
According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, attacks in and around the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado have displaced many who had been sheltering there after fleeing conflict in other parts of the province.
It said prior to that, nearly 670,000 people - including 160,000 women and adolescent girls as well as 19,000 pregnant women - were internally displaced in Cabo Delgado as well as the Niassa and Nampula provinces.
On Monday, PABF said vulnerable people in Mozambique should be protected as a matter of urgency.
“PABF will send their vice president, heading peace and security in all SADC, to go meet with the president of Mozambique including the defence minister,” said Antonio, who is also expected to meet the defence ministers of regional countries as well as other countries that have business interests in Mozambique.
“Our main outcome must be peace before the problem grows to Zimbabwe, South Africa and other countries.”
Several South Africans have been evacuated from Cabo Delgado. The body of a South African man killed in the attacks was also repatriated.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE