By Leopold Munhende
ZIMBABWE is now expected to volunteer troops to Mozambique’s strife torn Cabo Delgado region where Islamist insurgents Ansar al-Sunna have killed over 3 000 and displaced more.
This comes after regional political bloc, SADC has approved military intervention by member countries to end an almost two-year-long crisis.
In a communique shared Wednesday after an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State on the crisis, SADC leaders indicated they had agreed to send their soldiers into the mineral rich region.
“Summit endorsed the recommendations of the Report of the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation and approved the Mandate for the SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique, to be deployed in support of Mozambique to combat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado,” reads the communique.
A standby force of some 3 000 troops from across the region, recommended by SADC’s Technical Assessment Mission in April this year is now expected to be deployed on a date yet to be determined.
The standby force is part of SADC’s Regional Defence Pact to contain armed conflicts against democratically elected governments.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa will now have their way after having their initial offers to send in their armies rubbished by Mozambique’s Felipe Nyusi who maintained he could go it alone.
Already over 700 000 have been displaced.
The Institute of Security Studies however believes this will not end the strife, instead indicating, “Stabilising northern Mozambique will require a people-rather than security-centric strategy that tackles the security, humanitarian, political, economic, social and religious aspects of the insurgency.”
Ansar al-Sunna first surfaced in 2017 in Cabo Delgado in 2020.
It is said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS and had been added to the Islamic State Central Africa.
Although the Mozambique and international media have been awash with news of Ansar al-Sunna’s religious fanaticism, executive director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW), Claude Kabemba last month told journalists the conflict in Cabo Delgado is purely resource based between the government and people who feel let down by government.