Mozambique seeks South African military assistance to fight insurgency

Mozambique has opened talks with South Africa about providing military assistance to fight against an Islamic State-linked insurgency in its neighbouring country.

South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor said both governments were working hard on specific military assistance required to curb the insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.

“Our governments are in discussions as to how we might lend support from our own resources as South Africa,” Pandor said in comments broadcast over state-owned SABC television.

“At this point, we understand that Mozambique is making use of private security providers in order to fight this insurgent group,” the minister said while assuring that South Africa will help curb the insurgency.

Over the past two months, a South Africa-based private military company Dyck Advisory Group run by the former Zimbabwean military officer, Lionel Dyck has been helping Mozambican security forces fight the insurgents, mainly by attacking them with helicopter gunships.

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi last week asked for regional help in fighting the insurgency, which began in 2017, and has rapidly escalated in recent weeks.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week Tuesday also pledged support to quell the insurgency after a meeting in Harare on Tuesday of its Troika organ on politics, defence and security. This is the body tasked with maintaining peace and security in the SADC region which comprises 15 states, including South Africa.

The Harare summit was chaired by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, current chairperson of the organ and was also attended by the two other members of the troika: Zambian President Edgar Lungu, the outgoing chairperson; and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the incoming chairperson, local media reported.

The violence in the northern Cabo Delgado province that borders Tanzania has left more than 1,000 people dead and tens of thousands have fled their homes.

The violence has also halted natural gas projects worth as much as $60 billion that companies including Total SA and Exxon Mobil plan in the area.

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