Zimbabwean troops are girding for war after President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other regional leaders agreed an “immediate technical deployment” to help Mozambique fight Islamic insurgents who have recently stepped up attacks on civilians and infrastructure in the north.
A Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state mini-summit held in Maputo Thursday resolved to revive the bloc’s so-called Force Intervention Brigade and quickly mobilize troops.
The meeting was attended by Mnangagwa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Botswana’s Mokgweetsi Masisi, Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, who form the nucleus of the region’s security organ, and the host Filipe Nyusi.
The crisis convention followed the horrendous attacks by the Islamic State-linked terrorists on the coastal city of Palma two weeks ago where dozens were killed and thousands displaced.
“Double Troika Summit directed an immediate technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique, and the convening of an extraordinary meeting of the ministerial committee of the organ by 28 April 2021 that will report to the extraordinary organ troika summit on 29 April 2021,” the leaders said in a communiqué.
They said they had “noted with concern the acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians, women, and children in some of the districts of Cabo Delgado Province of the Republic of Mozambique; condemned the terrorist attacks in strongest terms; and affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response.”
Upon return, President Mnangagwa told journalists in Harare late Thursday that regional defense ministers had been ordered to resuscitate and capacitate the SADC military force, which should include troops from all member states, including Zimbabwe “immediately” so they can intervene.
“Yes, what is happening now is that the defense and security chiefs have the responsibility of implementing the decisions of the Double Troika,” he said
President Masisi, chair of the SADC organ on defense, politics, and security said the situation in Mozambique was troubling and threatened regional stability, hence the need for a regional response.
“We all agree that the deteriorating security situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique is indeed a serious threat to peace and security not only our sister country but also to the whole region and humanity at large. In particular, the recent attacks in the town of Palma have recently demonstrated the magnitude of the problem at our doorsteps,” Masisi said.