Insurgents ransacked Palma and murdered a number of local residents, as well as at least one South African contractor.
Insurgent attacks in the northern parts of Mozambique cannot be allowed to continue without a “proportionate regional response”, and there will be an “immediate technical deployment” to the country, a special regional summit has resolved.
In a communique following the conclusion of the half-day Southern African Development Community (SADC) double troika summit on Thursday in Maputo, the meeting said this deployment mission would have three weeks to report back at the next special summit, due to be held on 29 April.
The summit was convened to discuss the insurgency in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province, which started three years ago, and which flared up again at the end of last month. Insurgents ransacked Palma and murdered a number of local residents, as well as at least one South African contractor working on projects around Total’s newly-established multibillion liquefied natural gas plant.
According to the communique, the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Troika delivered a report on the security situation in Mozambique.
The double troika summit “noted with concern the acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians, women and children in some of the districts of Cabo Delgado”.
The summit also “condemned the terrorist attacks in the strongest terms and affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response”.
It also expressed condolences to the government and people of Mozambique, especially those who had lost loved ones in the attacks.
The summit said the SADC would continue to be committed “to contribute towards the efforts to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development” in Mozambique.
The double troika summit was convened by Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, in his capacity as chair of the body’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the incoming chairperson, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, as the previous chairperson, attended Thursday’s summit, while Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi, the current SADC chairperson, was designated to chair the summit.
Former SADC chair, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, and the incoming chair, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, were also expected to attend.
Mozambique has, so far, been slow to accept any outside help to quell the insurgency, which could deter investment in future projects in the northern part of the country.