President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed concern over threats made by the Mozambican rebels to cause harm to any nation that supports the government in the ongoing war that began in 2017. “They said any state that attempts to assist the government of Mozambique will also be targeted.”
Masisi, who is the current Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, said the conflict has already threatened to spill over into neighboring countries hence posing a threat to the entire SADC region.
The President however would not disclose whether Botswana has plans to deploy military personnel to the affected region as part of SADC member states’ efforts to avail resources to Mozambique.
Masisi addressed the media at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (Gaborone) following his return from the Extraordinary Double Troika Summit (DTS) of the Heads of State and Governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held in Maputo, Republic of Mozambique last week. He said it would be reprehensible for the SADC member states to turn a blind eye to the crisis.
The Double Troika Summit received a report from the Organ Troika on the security situation in Mozambique involving acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians, women and children in some of the districts of Cabo Delgado Province of the country.
In a statement following the meeting they condemned the terrorist attacks “in strongest terms” and affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response. “The Double Troika Summit also expressed their heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Government and people of the Republic of Mozambique, particularly the bereaved families, on the loss of their loved ones.”
The Summit expressed SADC’s full solidarity with the government of Mozambique and the people, and reaffirmed SADC’s continued commitment to contribute towards the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development.
The Summit also directed an immediate SADC Organ technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique, and the convening of an Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ by April 28, 2021 that will report to the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit to be held in Mozambique the following day (April 29, 2021).
They commended President Masisi as the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation for spearheading the work of the Organ.
South Africa recently sent troops to rescue stranded citizens in the affected area. The military was deployed following attacks by insurgents allegedly linked to Islamic State who overran the gas-fields town of Palma, killing dozens of people and displacing many others.
More than 2,600 people have been killed and 670,000 displaced since the rebel insurgency started in 2017, creating a massive humanitarian crisis, according to U.N. agencies.