Southern African Countries To Send Peacekeepers To Mozambique To Fight Terrorism

Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will send an unconfirmed number of soldiers to Mozambique to “combat terrorism and violent extremism perpetrated by Ansar’ul Sunnan in Cabo Delgado.”

The main focus of the SADC Meeting, held in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, was regional response and solidarity in the fight against terrorism. Various topics were also discussed, including the issue of Covid-19, the Renewable Energy Center, SADC Energy Efficiency, and the SADC-Private Sector Dialogue Mechanism.

“We are confident that the SADC will be an active and main player in this fight,” Filipe Nyusi stated at the outset of the extraordinary summit in Maputo. Nyusi, who is also the current chairman of the SADC, stated that member states have a responsibility to safeguard their sovereignty by providing the circumstances for a collaborative development effort. In his remarks, Nyusi also repeatedly warned that armed rebellion is a regional threat.

ISIS attempted, but failed, to strengthen its foothold in Afghanistan and the Philippines when its efficacy in Iraq and Syria began to wane between 2013 and 2018. The terrorist organization ISIS’ African branches became even more important as a result of these two losses. ISIS grew stronger in the region as a result of a power vacuum, weak military presence, and a long-running inter-state conflict in Africa.

Members of the militant group Al-Shabaab stand after giving themselves up to forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Garsale, approximately 10km from the town of Jowhar, 80km north of the capital Mogadishu, 22 September 2012 / Photo by Abukar Albadri

Locals refer to the terrorist organization Ansar’ul Sunna, which is one of ISIS’ branches, as “Al-Shabaab.” Since late 2017, the local Al-Shabaab terrorist group has killed hundreds of people, displaced communities, and taken control of numerous towns in northern Mozambique. Violence in the country’s northeast killed 2,800 people and drove 800,000 to leave, according to the UN.

After the discovery of gas and other natural riches in the region, the ISIS threat in Mozambique grew. The number of terrorist strikes in the country has increased significantly. Despite the fact that the violence has been going on for more than four years, it was only after the takeover of the town of Palma in April that the topic was brought to the SADC meeting by Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

The terrorist group Al-Shabaab started a wave of attacks in Palma on March 24, looting properties and killing residents while hundreds fled. Following the incident, Total withdrew from the region’s gas exploration field and the $24 billion natural gas project was halted. Conflicts between insurgents and government forces have persisted since then.