Botswana sends soldiers to Mozambique to fight terrorism
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Botswana’s security cannot be attained without that of her neighbours, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Monday.
Speaking at a ceremony to send off members of the Botswana Defence Force to Mozambique as part of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) standby force to help fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, he said a deceptive enemy awaits them.
"As your commander in chief, I am alive to the fact that you will be facing a deceptive enemy which is likely to use asymmetric warfare, unconventional and underhand warfare tactics against yourselves and the population you will be protecting. As professionals, you stand for much more than they do and must avoid emulating them and sinking to their level," he said, calling for the troops to observe the laws of armed conflict as prescribed internationally.
He said when Botswana took the leadership of the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, he laid out the country’s role in leading the region’s efforts to underpin stability in politics, defence and security, by applying the universal diplomatic and security capital to the region’s vexing problems.
"Complex as the security situation in the SADC region maybe, as in the past, Botswana’s foreign policy goals have been and remain very clear. Botswana’s security cannot be attained without that of her neighbours."
The Botswana soldiers will join soldiers from South Africa who were reportedly deployed last week, as well as soldiers from Rwanda who were deployed early in July.
The SADC resolved to send soldiers to Mozambique to repel terrorism after Islamic State-backed terrorists launched an attack on the town of Palma on March 24, killing at least 12 people, including a South African and a Zimbabwean, while more than 100,000 people fled the area.
Meanwhile, South African opposition party the Democratic Alliance has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to furnish Parliament with the full details of the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) deployment to Mozambique last week.
"We have serious concerns about the deployment. Particularly, how it will be funded and resourced. We cannot allow another CAR (Central African Republic) embarrassment and unnecessary death of our soldiers on foreign ground, especially given it is the same commanding officer involved," Kobus Marais, the party’s spokesperson on defence, said in a statement.
Fifteen South African soldiers were killed in the CAR in 2013 during a skirmish with rebels.
African News Agency (ANA)