BY MOSES MATENGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday flew to Mozambique to meet other Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) leaders as they plotted strategies to intervene in northern Mozambique insurgency that they fear could spill into neighbouring countries.
Indications were that Sadc was geared to get into an offensive to flush out insurgents in the Carbo Delgado region that have killed over 2000 people and displaced over 400 000 in Mozambique.
There were fears that if Sadc does not quickly act to quell the insurgency, the terrorist attacks might spill into Mozambique’s neighbouring countries that include Zimbabwe.
“The President leaves for Maputo, Mozambique as Sadc moves to counter the insurgency in that country,” Mnangagwa’s office said yesterday in a statement.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Mnangagwa joined other leaders including those of Botswana, South Africa and Tanzania in a day-long meeting.
“Today’s day-long summit which is at the invitation of host President Filipe Nyusi, comes hard on the heels of a Troika+One Summit held in Gaborone, Botswana on November 24. Sadc is fast moving towards moulding a sub-regional response against the insurgency, an initiative which started when President Mnangagwa was chairman of the Sadc Organ on Defence and Security,” Charamba said.
Charamba later added on twitter: “The summit covered namely, the proposed new port of the South of Maputo and consensually agreed that the security dimension of the whole situation in Mozambique was a responsibility of Sadc as a bloc”.
At the Robert Mugabe International Airport upon his return, Mnangagwa said: “When we met in Gaborone, President Nyusi had other engagements and invited us as the Troika to share our views on the situation in the region. We had a discussion about the situation in Mozambique and Nyusi told us that the United Kingdom government, the Irish government, Portugal, and I think the Americans had approached Mozambique to give support but discussions are going on pertaining to what support they can give,”
He said the view was to have the Western countries assisting on the humanitarian area by providing food and other necessities.
Government has indicated that Zimbabwe will only intervene under the auspices of the Sadc Brigade which was launched in August 2008.
“Please note that intervention in that conflict will be done within the framework of the Sadc Brigade. The Sadc Brigade was launched in August 2008 and is made up of military, police and civilian members from Sadc member States. Zimbabwe as a member State, contributes troops and equipment to the Brigade that will be deployed for such missions,” a statement attributed to the Defence ministry read in part.
Mnangagwa, who returned last night, was seen off in the morning by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is back in the country from a medical trip.
Details of the meeting were still sketchy last night.
Other leaders, who attended the Summit include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Botswana leader Mokgweetsi Masisi, who chaired the meeting.
Media reports suggest the defence officials in Zimbabwe have been busy at work strategising and analysing risks of intervention under the Sadc Brigade banner.
The United States has warned that the terrorist attacks in Mozambique were beginning to spill into neighbouring countries and it promised to support efforts to end the terror attacks.
Insurgents linked to the Islamic State took over Mocímboa da Praia in August in one of a series of brazen attacks this year in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees also said families which were rebuilding their lives after the destruction caused by Cyclone Kenneth in 2019 had to flee from the militant attacks.
Valentin Tapsoba, the Southern African head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, said: “This is a situation starting in one country but if all the countries don’t get their act together to tackle it and wait too long, it could spread within the sub region.”