Mozambique is top priority for Southern African leaders under the auspices of the SADC. In Harare on Wednesday, regional bloc leaders met to discuss the growing Islamist insurgency in northern Mozambique.
At the day-long meeting leaders of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique said they had also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and the security situation in southern Africa, including Lesotho, where Prime Minister Thomas Thabane resigned this week after months of pressure over his alleged role in the murder of his former wife.
But why so much talk about Mozambique lately? Here’s some background information.
Since 2017, Mozambique has faced a jihadist insurgency that has spread terror in the far north of its territory. Islamist group known as “Al-Shabab” has been terrorising Cabo Delgado, a province rich in underwater gas deposits. Their attacks against the population and the security forces have already resulted in more than 1,100 deaths, including 700 civilians, according to the NGO Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (Acled).
And, according to the Mozambican authorities, at least 150,000 people have been displaced by this violence. Now, how would the SADC help? In what means or capacity? Are there plans for a military intervention?