The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has agreed to deploy a force to contain disturbances by Islamic State-linked insurgents in northern Mozambique.
Following an extraordinary summit of its leaders held in the Mozambican capital Maputo on Wednesday, SADC endorsed a proposal by its Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to have an intervention force stationed in Mozambique’s troubled Cabo Delgado province.
“Summit endorsed the recommendations of the Report of the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence 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,” the regional bloc said in a communique issued after the meeting.
It was, however, silent on the details of the proposed standby force mission and when the troops would be deployed.
The decision to deploy a regional intervention force comes in the wake of a recent surge in attacks on civilians and government installations by insurgents known locally as Al-Shabab although there is no link with the Somalian outfit that goes by a similar name and is aligned to Al-Qaeda.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi is believed to have until now resisted the idea of a fully-fledged regional intervention force, preferring instead that his government handles some aspects of the response alone for sovereignty purposes.
SADC called on its member states, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, to continue providing support to the population affected by the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, including the more than 700,000 internally displaced persons.