Botswana News

Southern Africa: SADC Military Mission Warns of Terror Attacks on Mozambique’s Allies

Cape Town — A Southern African military mission which has assessed the current conflict in northern Mozambique is warning that so-called “al Shabaab” insurgents could conduct “terror activities” against other countries seen to be supporting the government. It also says there is a “high possibility” of renewed insurgent attacks in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region after Ramadan.

These assessments, based on a leaked report from the mission, are highlighted in the latest issue of Cabo Ligado, a weekly bulletin from a Mozambican civil society observer group.

The report also says the port town of Mocimboa de Praia, with an estimated population of 120,000, has become a stronghold of “al Shabaab” insurgents, who control its airfield and harbour.

The mission, headed by Botswana’s Brigadier Michael Mukokomani, was sent to assess the situation by leaders of the regional grouping, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It also comprised representatives from Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It visited Mozambique from April 15 to 21 and was briefed by Mozambican commanders on a trip to Cabo Delgado on April 17.

As previously reported, the mission has proposed that a regional multi-national intervention force should be sent to support government forces in Mozambique.

On the ground, it recommends the deployment of three light infantry battalions, presumably from contributing countries to the “SADC Brigade”, a force being developed under the African Union’s project to establish an “African Standby Force” for peacekeeping . The mission proposes that troops should be backed by two special forces squadrons, helicopters and drones.

On the sea, the mission’s report calls for patrol ships and submarines to be supported by maritime surveillance aircraft. Mozambique’s lack of naval capacity to prevent supplies being provided by insurgents – as well as to stop drug-running – has been a challenge in the fight against violence and crime in the north.