1. ISS Study Reveals Distrust, Lack of Coordination Between SADC, Rwanda and AU

According to a study published by the South African Institute for Security Studies (ISS), not only has there been “little communication” between the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which deployed more than 3,000 troops in the SAMIM Framework in Mozambique to Mozambique in mid-2021, as to date the regional bloc has not held “high-level discussions with Rwanda”, which has 2,000 men fighting the insurgency in Cabo Delgado. “Joint strategies with security forces pulling in the same direction would lead to a much better outcome,” according to the ISS, which stresses that “there are still attacks throughout Cabo Delgado province,” a situation corroborated by the United Nations Refugee Agency, which continues to consider “premature to encourage displaced people to return to their homes.”

The study signed by Liesl Louw-Vaudran, principal investigator for the ISS, underlines that “the deployment of SADC is marked in official AU documents as part of its African Reserve Force. But so far there has been little communication between SADC and the AU in this regard.” SADC only recently approached the AU – six months after SAMIM was seconded to Mozambique and “when the funds began to run out,” the study notes, noting that in doing so, SADC “put aside its historical mistrust of the AU and its insistence on the principle of subsidiarity.” SADC “also had no high-level discussions with Rwanda about its presence in Cabo Delgado,” the researcher said. Louw-Vaudran explains that Rwanda believes that eradicating terrorism in Cabo Delgado “is vital to its own security”, but the “tensions between SADC and Rwanda”, dating back to disagreements over the election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2019, “persist”. “On April 3, the ministers of the SADC’s Policy, Defence and Security body met in Pretoria to discuss the mission with representatives of the main troop-contributing countries in Mozambique,” the bloc’s heads of state are expected to ratify a decision to extend the mission for another three months until July 15, 2022, but “as has been the case with all SADC meetings in northern Mozambique, Rwanda has not been invited,” the ISS said.

“The first discussion of the AU Peace and Security Council (CPS) on SAMIM only took place in January 2022, six months after its deployment. The CPS retroactively approved the mission and requested funding and material assistance for the force,” the ISS said. The AU considers SAMIM to be “one of the first deployments of the African Reserve Force” – a central cog in the organization’s peace and security act, but if the protocols for the use of this force stipulate that coordination is necessary, particularly by the President of the AU Commission, “this has not yet happened in the case of Mozambique”, reinforces the South African analysis institute. On the other hand, SADC also only sought AU support “when it needed funding to extend the mission’s mandate beyond the first six months,” the study said.



2. SASOL Abandons Plans for Cabo Delgado Gas

www.news24.com reported on 13 April 2022 that Sasol will no longer consider gas supply from a planned pipeline stretching from fields in northern Mozambique to its South African operations because it doesn’t want to get stuck with the infrastructure as the world shifts away from fossil fuels, CEO Fleetwood Grobler said. The company, South Africa’s biggest fuel producer, in 2020 said it would potentially buy a small stake in the proposed 2 600km African Renaissance Pipeline – valued at $6 billion in 2016 – connecting to discoveries made by TotalEnergies and Eni. That type of infrastructure will mean that the company will be “tied to that for 30 or 40 years because that’s the nature of the investment,” Grobler said in an interview at Sasol’s headquarters in Johannesburg. “Gas in the long term is also a fossil fuel and we said we want to get to net zero.”

The nation’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases has now targeted a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030, largely through replacing a portion of the coal it uses to make synthetic fuel and chemicals, with natural gas. Sasol is considering liquefied natural gas imports from the Matola terminal planned by TotalEnergies and Gigajoule Group in Mozambique, along with further development of its own fields in the country.

Sasol already transports gas to South Africa from Mozambique on the 865-kilometer Rompco pipeline. The fuel is used for all of its Sasolburg operations and for 8% of its Secunda operations – with 40 million tons of coal (which it plans to cut by a quarter) – accounting for the remainder.



3. Repression of Artisanal Miners can Generate Radicalization

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) warns of the risk of radicalisation due to the violent repression of young artisanal miners in northern Mozambique, where there is already an armed insurgency. “The commitment to solutions that involve the use of security forces and deprivation of liberty can, on the one hand, negatively affect the relations between the concessionaire and local communities and, on the other hand, lead to the radicalization of young people involved in the illegal mining of rubies,” reads a report distributed by the NGO on Monday (18.04).

Most of the people involved in illegal rubies mining operations are young people, “without professional training and deprived of economic opportunities”. They are people who “find in that artisanal activity a source of sustenance”, so “investing in their repression and imprisonment can contribute to the creation of a sense of revolt, thus increasing the risks of vulnerability to recruitment by extremist groups that carry out attacks in the north of Cabo Delgado”.

The precariousness of illegal mining causes frequent reports of deaths in the excavation areas. The continuity of illegal prospectors, despite the risks and repression, “shows that the problem will not be solved only with police operations or lawsuits,” the CDD said. Legal steps should be complemented “by concrete initiatives of frank and open dialogue involving MRM, local authorities and communities living in the vicinity of the mining concession. Only by dialoguing with local communities will the concessionaire be able to obtain the social license to continue to explore the Namanhumbir ruby mine without incident,” he adds.

The CDD’s position follows a press release on Wednesday in which MRM (a subsidiary of British company Gemfield) – which exploits one of the world’s largest rubies deposits – announces the Montepuez District Court’s decision to convict several people of illegal trespassing and mining crimes in the area leased to the company. In addition to the dialogue, “corporate social responsibility actions are necessary to build a sense of socio-economic inclusion among families living in Namanhumbir,” the CDD said. “When communities start to feel the benefits of extracting rubies, they will be more proactive in preventing and combating illegal mining,” he concludes.

MRM has about 34,000 hectares of concession for the exploitation of rubies in Cabo Delgado and is the main investor in the extraction of rubies in Mozambique, being held 75% by the Gemfields group and 25% by Mozambican Mwiriti Limitada. Since January 2011, Montepuez Ruby Mining’s sales account for 94% of the country’s cash flows related to emeralds, rubies and sapphires, according to the company. MRM raised US$731 million (665 million euros at the current exchange) from 15 auctions since the start of its operations in 2011, according to data advanced by the company in December.



4. Authorities Continue Encouraging IDPs to return, Despite Ongoing Attacks

According to the Defense Minister in Mozambique, Cristovao Chume, the general situation in Cabo Delgado is much calmer than what it was and the government can now focus on the return of citizens to the affected areas. “In general terms, the situation is much more stable than last month, or other previous periods of conflict”, he commented, on the sidelines of a meeting with Malawian Deputy Defense Minister, Harry Mkandawire, on his recent visit to Mozambique. “The epicenter of our operations has moved from Palma and Mocimboa da Praia to Macomia and Nangade…the biggest concern right now is the return of the population”, emphasizing that the returnees need peaceful circumstances in order to be enticed back to rebuild their homes and lives that they fled from when the insurgency started about four years ago and peaked in 2020-2021. The continuing deployment of the SAMIM forces to the area will assist in keeping the area calm and stable. Although the deployment mandate will change from an active engagement to an ongoing peacekeeping mission, the troops, from various SADC member states, will continue to be on the ground in Cabo Delgado. This includes the SANDF deploying the SAS Spionkop frigate to assist in maritime patrols along the coast of northern Mozambique, going up to the maritime border with Tanzania, a passage of water that has become highly lucrative path for smugglers and insurgents moving goods, people and weapons.

In a development that belies the calm situation outlined by the defence minister, insurgents abducted at least 10 people, including teenagers, from Chibao village, in the Nangade district of Cabo Delgado province. On Friday afternoon, the group invaded the Chicuaia village, and captured and beheaded a local law enforcement officer. They then continued on to Chibao village, where they then attacked and kidnapped a group of 10 people, which included adults and minors. They then forced the kidnapped to carry looted goods from the village, according to a resident who survived by running away to the nearby forest. “They arrived and tied up the adults, and then they rounded up the other people (teenagers). We don’t know where the attackers are from or where they took people to”, according to one witness. Another witness, Zunaid Omar, said that the attacks had left them “on an island in the main village (of Nangade); terrorists have surrounded the entire village. (Terrorists) are seen passing through some villages”, he continued, expressing fear of a possible upcoming surge in instability and violence, despite the visible presence of security forces.

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