16 August 2014

Southern Africa: SADC Won't Hesitate to Use Force - Official

Victoria Falls — Sadc will not hesitate to use force when necessary in case of insurgency in the region as has been successfully done in defeating the M23 rebel force in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security has said.Director of the organ, Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Tanki Mothae, said the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2098 that enabled offensive combat force in dealing with the M23 rebels had paid dividends as the militants were defeated.

The UN Security Council in March 2013 adopted resolution 2098 that mandated the UN peacekeeping mission for the DRC that is also made up of Sadc forces from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi to carry out "targeted offensive operations" to neutralise the armed groups to prevent violence against civilians and to protect them. "These are successes that are a result of the Sadc contribution to peace, security and co-operation framework and also the participation of Sadc through three member states in the United Nations Mission in the Stabilisation of Congo where there are three countries namely Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania that have contributed the troops that formed the Intervention Brigade," said Rtd Lt-Col Mothae.

"This is one of the first ever United Nations resolutions that allowed a peacekeeping mission to have an offensive capability in any peacekeeping mission throughout the history of the UN.

"As a result, Sadc was very willing to contribute and they did contribute to that and we continue to contribute to that initiative for eastern DRC to be stabilised because peace in eastern DRC is peace in the Sadc region, is peace in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, is the peace in Africa.

"So, we need that peace because the focus of our region is the deeper regional integration and ensuring the prosperity for the citizens of our region. So, those are the issues that we are focusing on and we want Sadc to remain peaceful as it is and we want to maintain and sustain the gains that we have gained in our region."

Rtd Col Mothae said while the region was generally peaceful, vigilance was still necessary against possible destablisation forces. He said the region would subdue any destabilisation, given its rich history of the liberation struggle.

"Stability has its own challenges, when you are stable everybody wants to find out why you are stable and they want to test your stability and I think Sadc through its own instruments has ensured and will endeavour to ensure there is stability in our region," said Rtd Col Mothae.

"As you know that we have a very serious history of liberation war that liberated Sadc to where we are and a lot of lives were lost and we want to ensure that all those who paid for peace with their own lives are happy wherever they see us, where they are spiritually, to ensure that we are maintaining and sustaining those peaceful initiatives."

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