1. SADC Summit

At the SADC troika held over two days (22 and 23 June), the 16 member state organization agreed to the deployment of a standby force, which will be part of a regional defence pact. Some members had initially pushed for military action, such as South Africa, while Mozambique has always been reticent of actually fully acknowledging the crisis, and therefore not comfortable with foreign military intervention in the Cabo Delgado crisis. Because of this reluctance on the part of Mozambique, these negotiations have taken quite a long time, beginning in March, and are only now on the way to being finalized. Jasmine Opperman, of ACLED, had this to say: “there are no details, so we should not expect a quick deployment. It is not clear how Mozambique will integrate a regional force into its operations in Cabo Delgado. And SADC should not underestimate the insurgents. Such a military intervention alone will not resolve the insurgency, it might also achieve stability and security in northern Mozambique and that will help Mozambique address the humanitarian situation, which is dire. And Mozambique must reestablish effective governance in Cabo Delgado because that has been missing for four years. The crisis has created approximately 700 000 internally displaced people who have fled the violence, with most of them settling in Nampula and Pemba. And even though the intervention could deal a major blow to the insurgents, “Mozambican authorities have expressed hesitancy about having regional boots on the ground, so it is not certain how this will be implemented”, this is according to Dino Mahtani, the deputy director of the International Crisis Group’s Africa program.

On 28 June 2021 SADC approved an amount of 10 Million Euro’s to finance the proposed military intervention. This was announced by Tete Antonio, the Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs. He said that the amount would come from member state contributions as well as SADC reserve funds.

2. Washington Strives to Contain Cabo Delgado Crisis

Africa Intelligence reports that the United States is worried that violent unrest in the northern province of Mozambique might spread to neighbouring states. The State Department plans to closely monitor Mozambique’s border with Malawi.

The Islamist-linked insurgency in the northern province of Cabo Delgado has prompted Joe Biden’s administration to step up its vigilance in southern Africa. Having beefed up its team of security experts in

its Maputo embassy . Washington is now working in Malawi on a containment strategy. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs is to subcontract the job of enhancing border control capacity.

Tennessee-based Relyant Global is in the running for this contract, which entails providing counterterrorism training to Malawian border guards both on land, with patrol exercises, and on the vast Lake Malawi, which lies on hundreds of kilometers of the shared border with Mozambique. Washington already has a security partnership with Lilongwe: since 2018 the US Air Force has been working with its Malawian counterpart.

But the State Department has yet to make similar arrangements with Tanzania, Mozambique’s border with which is in Cabo Delgado. Since she came to power in March, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has not taken a stance on the situation there. Her late predecessor, John Magufuli – whose relations with Washington were virtually non-existent – frequently side-stepped the issue whenever his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi asked for his help.

The head of Relyant, former US Marine Daniel Smith, has for several months pitched himself as Washington’s Mr Fixit in Africa, offering a range of services to the Pentagon. He is backed by his director of operations Donald Patton, a former US Army logistics specialist. The company is involved in the construction of the Kainji air base in Nigeria and in demining in the DRC.

3. Heavy Fighting Reported Around Palma

Sources in the area reported fighting from Wednesday 23 June in Palma and surrounding villages. Monjane, Maganja, Quitupo, Patacua and Olumbi were all attacked. Fighting was still reported to be continuing on Friday 25 June. The reports were confirmed by displaced arriving by boat in Pemba. Around 500 people, mostly women and children, had landed on Paquitequete beach in Pemba bay, for several months now the main arrival point for survivors of terrorism. According to the refugees, a number of villages in Palma district are completely abandoned and many others risk becoming so as a result of actions by the armed groups that continue to murder and kidnap civilians in the province. “We are fleeing a war. There are beheadings every day, and shooting. It’s a real war and there is no signs of it ending soon,” said Salima Momade, displaced from Palma with her husband and arriving in Pemba with two bundles of belongings. In addition to escaping death, the survivors see themselves as escaping abduction by the armed group, which has allegedly left parts of Palma district deserted. “There are few people left in Palma. You hear gunfire there every day,” said Bacar Fumo, who arrived in Pemba with only half his family. “They kidnapped five of my children, plus a woman with two children and two girls, all relatives,” Fumo reported. Having escaped death, he continues to suffer in Pemba, living in the open on Paquitequete beach. In addition to family members, the displaced leave behind thousands of people waiting for transport to safe areas. “Almost the entire population of Palma is concentrated in a village in the coastal area, and only does not come to Pemba because they do not have the money to pay for transport, which costs 2,500 meticais per person. When it is a family with children and luggage, you can negotiate with the boat owner,” reports Abudo Raibo, another displaced person with no family in Pemba and therefore still living on the beach.

Now, when they land on Paquitequete beach, survivors of the terrorist attacks are greeted only by Defence and Security Force personnel, not by humanitarian organizations, as was previously the case.

4. Helicopter Shot Down By Insurgents

On 23 June 2021, insurgents shot down a Mi-24 helicopter between Palma and Afungi. The helicoter was being operated by Mozambican military personnel. It was shot down by an RPG 7. It is the third helicopter that had been shot down by insurgents. The shooting down of a helicopter serves to boost the morale of the insurgents, who are now reported to be concentrated at the entrance to the security perimetre of the Total installation at Afungi.

5. Rwanda Confirms Planned Troop Deployment

On 24 June 2021, www.bloomberg.com reported that Rwanda plans to deploy troops to help Mozambique fight an insurgency that’s left more than 2,900 people dead and halted Africa’s biggest private investment.

“There are plans to deploy, but plans are not finalized yet,” Rwanda Defence Force spokesman Ronald Rwivanga said by phone Thursday 24 June. Veronica Macamo, Mozambique’s foreign minister, and armed forces spokesman Omar Saranga didn’t reply to messages seeking comment.

The Southern African Development Community, which doesn’t count Rwanda among its 16 member states, also plans to deploy its standby force to Cabo Delgado province to quell fighting. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi visited his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in April, around the same time a SADC summit about the insurgency was postponed. The two leaders discussed issues including fighting terrorism, the Rwandan state broadcaster reported at the time.

Mozambique has yet to inform SADC of any planned deployment from Rwanda, Stergomena Tax, the bloc’s executive secretary, said by phone to Bloomberg. Tax declined to comment on when SADC would send troops, saying only that it would happen soon and “as urgently as possible,” and would comprise soldiers from member countries. “We are deploying,” she said by phone. “We are going to war.”

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