Mozambique: Future of Samim to Be Decided in January

President Filipe Nyusi announced on 30 December that the mandate of the SADC Military Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) could be extended. Speaking in Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado where the Mozambican defence and security forces, in alliance with SAMIM and the Rwandan armed forces, are fighting islamist terrorists, President Nyusi said the continued presence of SADC forces will be discussed in January, at the next meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

He added that clean-up operations are continuing in Cabo Delgado after the terrorists had been driven out of several of their main bases. However, some jihadists have crossed the provincial boundary into Niassa, where they have raided several villages in Mecula district.

President Nyusi was speaking after a meeting with his Botswana counterpart, Mokgweetsi Masisi. He praised Masisi for the support Botswana has given to the fight against terrorism. "Right from the start he showed immediate solidarity and received our young people who are undergoing training in Botswana, particularly in the Air Force", he said.

When SADC took the decision to send a military mission to Mozambique, Masisi was chairing the troika, and President Nyusi credited him with driving the entire process forward. He added that Masisi's visit to Cabo Delgado was a very important gesture to Botswanan soldiers serving in SAMIM and who are unable to spend the current festive season with their families.

Masisi had a simple message for the Botswana SAMIM contingent - they should shoot to kill at any terrorists who refuse to lay down their weapons. "It's clear that you have understood your mission", he said, "because you have lived the situation on the ground. You should leave the country without enemies".

"Kill the enemy", urged Masisi, "but please continue to do your best and continue to shine in Mozambique". He hoped that Mozambicans would have fond memories of all that the soldiers had done in Cabo Delgado.

He assured the troops "you shall never, never cease to enjoy my support".

SAMIM was approved by an extraordinary summit of SADC heads of state and government, held on 23 June, and the mission began its deployment on 15 July.

In addition to Botswana, seven other SADC member states have provided personnel for SAMIM, namely South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia, working under the overall coordination of the Mozambican defence forces.

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