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Mozambique unrest on SADC agenda as SANDF deployed to rescue trapped South Africans

A car involved in an ambush on a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians who had been sheltering in a hotel in Palma, lies wrecked on the side of the road. Picture: Reuters

A car involved in an ambush on a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians who had been sheltering in a hotel in Palma, lies wrecked on the side of the road. Picture: Reuters

Published Apr 4, 2021


The insurgency in Mozambique has forced the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika to hold an urgent meeting in the next few days to discuss the attacks and the security situation.

The meeting has been called by the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

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Masisi will convene the meeting in the next few days in his capacity as Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, and it is occasioned by the ongoing insurgency affecting the Province of Cabo Delgado in the northern part of Mozambique.

President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that he deployed SANDF personnel to rescue citizens trapped in Mozambique

Ramaphosa said the SANDF personnel is working hard in ensuring the safety of South African citizens. On Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said 50 South Africans who were trapped in Mozambique have been accounted for.

The chairperson of the joint committee on defence Cyril Xaba said he is awaiting a deployment letter from Ramaphosa to Parliament.

The procedure constitutionally is that the president deploys the SANDF personnel and then inform parliament, the letter contains the number of deployed personnel, the reason for the deployment, the number of personnel, the period to be spent and the budget.

Xaba said in this case parliament will receive the letter this week since this was an emergency deployment.

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According to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the security situation in northern Mozambique is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

“Attacks by violent extremists have claimed over 1 000 lives and displaced 250 000 people since October 2017. Infrastructure has been destroyed and citizens robbed of their livelihoods,” said ISS expert, Liesl Louw-Vaudran.

The Ministry Of Defence issued a statement saying that South Africa has expressed concern about the security situation and remain seized with the safety of South Africans in that province.

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The ministry said SANDF is providing support to the South African High Commission with regard to the repatriation of those South Africans who want to return.

“Government can confirm that, with the exception of one person who died tragically in violence, more than 50 South Africans who were reported missing through the South African High Commission in Maputo have been accounted for,” said Ministry of Defence Spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini.

Last Tuesday, the South African Air Force repatriated the body of Adrian Nel together with his brother and father.

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Dlamini said the SANDF continue to provide logistical support to the South African High Commission in Maputo with regard to consular services.

“South Africa reiterates its full support to all attempts by SADC and AU that seek to silence the guns and realise peace and stability on the continent, including in Southern Africa.

“As a matter of principle, South Africa supports multilateral efforts to respond to the situation in Mozambique. South Africa will be guided by the outcomes of this meeting on how it can assist to stabilise the situation in Mozambique,” said Dlamini.

Darren Olivier from the African Defence Review said: “This is not a South African war, but a Mozambican war. If we are invited and asked to help through SADC or Mozambique, but South Africa need to know what Mozambique needs rather troops or helicopters”.

Olivier said the roots of the conflicts are very deep and they are not issues arising from nowhere, the region has been left alone for so many years, the root causes are economic.