This week the Southern African Development Community Troika meets to discuss the deepening crisis in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province. They would do well to listen to the pleas of activists in Mozambique who are calling for national dialogue and regional development rather than further militarisation.
The Cabo Delgado conflict is quickly taking on regional and international dimensions. The Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Palma attacks; according to the International Crisis Group this may largely be propaganda as the links between the groups are still tenuous. Nevertheless, in March the US designated al-Shabaab a foreign terrorist group.
Regionally, South Africa and Zimbabwe risk being drawn in. At least one South African private military company, Dyck Advisory Group, already operates there. There have also been reports of Zimbabwean troops being sent to the province, although these have been denied.
In this context, Arnold Tsunga, chairperson of South African Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN), warns of the dangers "if Mozambicans lose control over resolving their own conflict and it becomes an international proxy war".
Piers Pigou, of the crisis group, points to a possible "Iraq-ification" of Cabo Delgado, with a 25km "secure zone" already protecting Total at its Afungi...