Leaders of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe – who make up the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security – made the resolution during an extraordinary summit of the peace and security arm of the regional body held in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.
Organ chairperson and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the extraordinary summit was convened at the request of Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi who wanted regional backing for his fight against Islamist insurgents in his country.
“The formal request to SADC is testimony of the trust that Mozambique has in the structures of SADC, support and solidarity and the ability to work together to deal with some of these threats,” Mnangagwa said.
Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province is under threat from some acts of extremism and terrorism, and could spread to neighbouring countries if not properly addressed.
According to the United Nations, at least 28 attacks have been recorded in the province since the beginning of 2020, with 400 people killed and about 100,000 people displaced since the beginning of the insurgency in 2017.
Mnangagwa said the SADC region “is equally affected by this growing risk of violent religious ethnicism, radicalisation and terrorism, a worrying situation for peace, security and development in our region.”
“SADC is greatly concerned about this development and the resulting threat to peace, security and development in our region.
“Let me reiterate our unequivocal rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and our strong condemnation of all terrorist acts which will never be justified,” the Zimbabwean leader said.
He noted that successfully preventing and combating terrorism required renewed and firm commitment from all SADC member states.
“It also calls for enhanced joint action, given the transnational nature of the terrorist groups.”
Various groups including those with Islamic fundamentalism, especially a group known as Ahlu Sunna Wa-Jama have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks which the Mozambican government is now describing as terrorism.