The deployment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby force to Mozambique hangs in the balance as Mozambique delays signing the Status of Forces Agreement needed to allow army troops from a foreign country to join a local mission.

The country has been battling insurgency since 2017, resulting in the displacement of over 800 000 people.

The delay has also caused some political tensions after Mozambique signed an agreement with Rwanda for the deployment of 1000 soldiers.

The SADC standby force is scheduled to leave for Mozambique later this week. Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says, “Right up until last night this status of forces agreement had not been signed. The signing the legal document which is a legal document if it is not signed it actually prevents the entire region from deployment and has nothing to do with the perceived tensions between South Africa and Mozambique if any at all.”

Arrival of Rwandan troops  

Meanwhile, the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has confirmed the arrival of troops from Rwanda to support the fight against terror-related attacks in Cabo Delgado.

SADC was meant to have been first to deploy its joint forces.

Mozambique’s Minister of Defence, Jaime Neto, denies the move was meant to undercut SADC’s intervention efforts.

“At the ministerial level, we may not always have concrete information on what has been dealt with but Cabo Delgado is a privileged subject for heads of state at the level of SADC region and obviously at our level it’s up to us to take decisions from consultations that occurred out at the level of the heads of state.”

Fredson Guilengue on Rwanda deploying troops to Mozambique: