A Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders’ meeting that was scheduled for Thursday to address the insurgency in Mozambique has been postponed, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s office said on Wednesday.
The meeting was to receive a report from a team sent to Mozambique to assess the security situation and identify ways to support the country after insurgents attacked the coastal town of Palma, displacing tens of thousands of people and stalling a $60 billion natural gas project.
The gas project by French oil major Total is meant to transform the economy of one of Africa’s poorest countries.
Masisi’s office says the meeting was put off due to the unavailability of Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique form a division of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that wants to decide how to help Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province against the militant attacks.
Botswana is the current chair of the SADC division, which is tasked with promoting peace and security in the region.
Masisi went into self-quarantine on Tuesday after the detection of a case of COVID-19 among his staff, while South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa is giving testimony to an inquiry into corruption under his predecessor Jacob Zuma.
State Capture Inquiry | Commission hears evidence from the President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa
The insurgency broke out in Mozambique’s northeast in 2017 and the rebels have stepped up attacks in the past year.
A report by rating agency S&P Global said militant attacks in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province pose a “significant threat” to production facilities associated with one the biggest natural gas discoveries in the world.