The Southern African Development Community (SADC) decided on Thursday to send a force of just 250 troops to help stabilise Lesotho - far fewer than the 1,200 Lesotho had requested and expected. By PETER FABRICIUS.
A "c0ntingent" force will be deployed in Lesotho after several SADC countries meet on 10 November to finalise operational details.
This is according to SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax who told Daily Maverick that South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania would contribute contingents to the force which will comprise troops as well as police, intelligence and civilian elements. The decision on the size of the force as well as other logistical aspects was made by security chiefs representing all SADC member states at a meeting at SADC secretariat headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana.
The decision to send only 250 personnel is likely to disappoint Lesotho which had requested a battalion-strength force of about 1,200 and had indicated that SADC had agreed to this.
The purpose of the force is to provide protection to the government of Prime Minister Tom Thabane while it implements SADC's previous recommendations to arrest military officers for several political crimes and to undertake security sector, political and constitutional reforms.