Southern African leaders vow to address terrorism in Mozambique

Armed militant group has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since late 2017

Hassan Isilow   | 28.05.2021
Southern African leaders vow to address terrorism in Mozambique

PRETORIA, South Africa

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) reaffirmed their solidarity with Mozambique late Thursday, saying they will continue with efforts to address terrorism in that country.  

The regional body of 16 countries held a Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government on Thursday in Mozambique’s capital of Maputo to discuss the growing terrorism and instability in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique. 

The leaders unanimously agreed in a communiqué that they will ensure that lasting peace and security prevails in Mozambique, saying instability in Mozambique is also a threat to the SADC region.

In late March, an armed militant group believed to be affiliated with the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group attacked the coastal town of Palma in Cabo Delgado near the border with Tanzania, killing dozens and injuring scores of others.

The armed group, locally known as al-Shabaab but with no established links to the armed militant group in Somalia, has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since late 2017, killing hundreds, displacing communities and capturing towns.

Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas, and companies such as France’s Total SE were set to extract liquefied natural gas (LNG) from offshore sites in the Indian Ocean.

In a turn of events, French energy giant Total announced in April that it is suspending its $20 billion LNG project in Mozambique following militant attacks in Cabo Delgado. 

The SADC’s summit was attended by Mozambique’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, president of Botswana and chairperson of the SADC, and Malawi’s President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, who is also the incoming chairperson of the SADC.

Others included South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Hussein Ali Mwinyi, president of Zanzibar, representing Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of Tanzania.

"While the SADC region remains stable and generally peaceful, terrorism continues to be a serious threat that requires urgent, concrete and decisive attention," the SADC’s Executive Secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said in her remarks.

She also expressed the SADC’s sympathy to the government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were hit by a volcanic eruption on Saturday from Mount Nyiragongo in the city of Goma.

“The eruption resulted in the displacement of thousands of people and has destroyed property. May I express our sympathy and thank local and international organizations that are working with the government in supporting the affected communities,’’ she said. 

The SADC will convene an extraordinary summit on June 20 in Mozambique to announce intervention measures needed in fighting terrorism and insecurity in northern Mozambique.

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