GABORONE, (The Southern African Times) – Southern African leaders on Friday agreed to come up with a comprehensive regional response to the armed insurgency in Mozambique which has triggered a humanitarian crisis amid a surge in internally displaced persons in the country. Meeting in the Botswana capital Gaborone, members of the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agreed on urgent regional action to address the acts of terrorism in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province and expressed continued SADC solidarity with the administration of President Filipe Nyusi.
“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit directed the finalisation of a comprehensive regional response and support to the Republic of Mozambique to be considered urgently by the Summit,” the leaders said in a communique.
The regional response is expected to be ready by the time of the next SADC Extraordinary Summit scheduled for March 2021 in Maputo, Mozambique.
The extraordinary summit of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security took place amid a surge in armed attacks in Cabo Delgado by militants suspected to be linked to the terrorist organisation, Islamic State.
The insurgency has displaced more than 500,000 people from hotspots in the province, with about 2,000 others killed.
The SADC Organ meeting, which was chaired by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, also discussed the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and pledged regional support to the development and implementation of the Joint Strategy on the Progressive and Phased Drawdown of MONUSCO in the DRC.
Approved in October, the strategy calls for a gradual withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers from several regions of the DRC.
In addition to Masisi who chairs the SADC Organ, other leaders who attended Friday’s meeting are DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera.
They were joined by Mozambique’s Defence Minister Jaime Neto and Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Hassan.