Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, says the SADC Mission in Mozambique will not retreat until the situation has been brought under control.
He says the regional bloc’s standby force will continue working with the Mozambican Defence Force in rooting out terrorism and insurgents in the northern region of Cabo Delgado.
Chakwera made the comments during the closing ceremony of SADC Heads of States Summit in Lilongwe, on Wednesday.
The Summit resolved to extend the mission – which was expiring this week – for another six months.
Chakwera says the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) must stay the course and see that peace and stability is returned to the region of Cabo Delgado: “Our approach to this mission must continue to be multi-dimensional and comprehensive. It must not only focus on neutralizing the threat but also have a post conflict plan to rebuild..”
The political will to improve on the ground operations is seemingly there but will it translate to a better resourced mission.
The Summit noted the challenges SAMIM faces in relation to lack of funding and the unavailability of equipment including aircraft.
Member states agreed that they would find the money needed to make the 1 000 strong mission a success.
A sore point for the regional mission is that the Rwanda Defence Force seems to have made better gains in Cabo Delgado and have a stronger relationship with Maputo.
At the weekend – RDF and Mozambican military official met to discuss operational way forward.
The meeting did not include SAMIM – something security analysts view as a grave error and from a political standpoint, a diplomatic faux pas.
SAMIM’s mandate has been extended for 3 months in line with Scenario 6 of the African Union Peace Support Operation framework.
From April – the deployment will be under Scenario 5; meaning a multi-dimensional force.
Meanwhile, SAMIM has concluded two major operations in Macomia district which ran from October until the beginning of this year.
31 terrorists were killed and several Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah bases were destroyed.
The mission says it’s working with Mozambican forces to be able to return villages back to civilians.