Maputo — The mandate of the Southern African Development Community Military Mission (SAMIM) in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has been extended for a further three months, in a bid to ensure a consolidation of security in the territories freed from ISIS terrorists and the start of reconstruction.
The move was announced on Tuesday by Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, addressing a press conference in Maputo, shortly after his arrival from the South African capital, Pretoria, where he attended the SADC Troika Extraordinary Summit, called to discuss the future of SAMIM.
“The decision to extend the mission’s mandate is intended to ensure a full clearance of the areas freed from the terrorists and establish security, as some of the territories had been occupied for over a year. We need to consolidate the reconstruction of wrecked infrastructures for a safe return of the displaced people,” Nyusi said.
Nyusi stressed that the summit, called by the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, approved the progress report and commended the SAMIM leadership and their troops for the remarkable achievements made since the deployment of the mission in July 2021.
The cleanup operation is underway and, Nyusi highlighted, it will be followed by the reconstruction phase. In order to make it easier, each country integrated in the mission has been assigned a swathe of land to look after.
Nyusi also attached great importance to a healthy and peaceful coexistence with the civilian population, so as to avoid human rights violations and any other problems.
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“We will continue to coordinate and cooperate, taking into account that it is the first experience and it is important to ensure sound communication,” Nyusi said.
Regarding the three casualties so far recorded (one from Botswana and two from Tanzania), Nyusi indicated that they were not all on the battlefield, because some were killed in accidents as they moved from one place to another.
As for the return of the population, he recommended more patience because of the importance of the subsequent activities underway which include the consolidation of the successes so far achieved.
Nyusi also reaffirmed that there will be no vacuum, following SAMIM’s departure, as the deal with the member States includes not only combat operations but also preparation and training of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM).
Initially, SAMIM’s mandate ran for just three months, expiring on 15 October, but it has now been extended to January 2022. Nyusi admitted that the extension could be longer than three months, “depending on the situation”.
Fighting alongside SAMIM is a 1,000 strong contingent from Rwanda, and it seems that they too will remain in Cabo Delgado until at least January next year.