Southern Africa: SADC Mission Recommends 3,000 Troops Deployment

Mozambican troops have been battling militants in Cabo Delgado since 2017.

The proposal will be tabled today to members of the security organ troika for validation.

The technical assessment mission of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has said it will propose the dispatching of military personnel to assist Mozambique combat armed groups targeting the country's northern region.

A report issued on April 27, 2021 by the technical mission states that the intervention force of 2,916 soldiers would include

  • three light infantry battalions of 630 troops each,
  • two special forces squadrons of 70 troops each;
  • two attack helicopters;
  • two armed helicopters;
  • two surface patrol ships;
  • one submarine;
  • one maritime surveillance aircraft as well as other logistical support aircraft, equipment and personnel.

The recommendation by SADC technical assessment mission is in response to the Jihadist insurgency, after a week-long visit to Mozambique from April 15th to 21st to assess the help Mozambique needed.

The mission that spent one full day in Cabo Delgado, was tasked to conduct the assessment by a SADC double troika summit held in Maputo on April 8. This followed a major insurgent attack on March 24 when the jihadists overran the northern port town of Palma.

The leaders of the double troika comprising the troikas of SADC and its security organ instructed the assessment mission to report back to a SADC security organ troika ministerial meeting that held in Maputo yesterday and then to the security organ troika summit today.

Three Presidents: Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, of the security organ troika as well as Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation of a SADC military intervention force.

One of the big unknowns is whether President Nyusi will agree to such a forceful intervention as he has so far seemed reluctant. He could instead favour a secondary option which the technical assessment mission is expected to put on the table, for SADC to provide Mozambique with just training and logistic support.

The mission was led by Brigadier MM Mukokomani of Botswana which currently chairs the SADC security organ. If accepted, the force would touch down in Mozambique at Nacala to the south of Cabo Delgado Province and then move north to Pemba, the coastal capital of Cabo Delgado and from there into the battle zones such as Palma.

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