The joint regional force in Mozambique has been decided to be expanded; but South Africa’s military chief Rudzani Maphwanya has warned of escalations. He feels there is an urgent need to deal with the terrorists in Mozambique before the problem spreads further afield.
The joint regional force is a part of the 16-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission (SAMIM) to support Mozambique in its battle against jihadism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, which started in July 2021.
The ones to be a part of the 16-nation coalition of African nations includes Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. As a part of the bilateral agreement, Rwanda has already deployed troops to Mozambique.
It was a virtual conference chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, this has also become an opportunity to take stock of the latest SAMIM forces that have deployed quite a lot of troops as a part of Operation Buffalo.
SAMIM forces met strong resistance from the terrorists but were able to inflict fatal casualties and disrupt activities as well as continue to dominate and pursue the terrorists in the operational area. We strongly believe that if we do not curb the scourge of terrorism and nip it in the bud whilst it’s still on the other side, eventually it will affect the entire region,” Mr. Maphwanya has shared with the local media.
Since 2017, the insurgency in Mozambique has been blamed for more than 3,000 deaths, with more than 800,000 people displaced and more than 1 million in need of food aid, according to the U.N. World Food Program.
A recent attack on civilians in Cabo Delgado has already sparked fears that the area could become the next frontier for global jihadism in Africa. Most attacks by self-styled terrorists comes from residents within the country that have been brainwashed into fighting within the natural-gas rich regions of Mozambique. In late March, insurgents stormed the northern town of Palma, the gateway to multibillion-dollar natural gas projects that were being constructed with the investment of major multinational oil firms like France’s Total. The attack came only a few weeks after the U.S. State Department formally designated “ISIS-Mozambique”—also known as Ansar al-Sunna or Ahlu Sunna Wa-Jama, though many locals refer to it as al-Shabab, an Arabic term meaning “the youth”—as a terrorist organization.