The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has agreed to extend its security mission in Mozambique, where defense forces have sought to restore order in troubled Cabo Delgado province.
The decision was announced in a communiqué following Tuesday’s summit in Lilongwe, Malawi. The extraordinary summit, hosted by President Lazarus Chakwera, was attended by 14 heads of member states or their representatives.
They included President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique, who asked for assistance in countering the extremist threat in the country’s northeast province along the border shared with Tanzania.
The SADC acknowledged that although some progress has been made, the threat from armed extremists remains. Member states have supported the mission since April 2021.
Rwandan soldiers have served in Mozambique since July, with several thousand troops fighting alongside an SADC force. The SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) draws its troops from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
“Our meeting today must indicate a strengthened commitment to defeat and uproot terrorism from our region,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the current SADC chair for security cooperation.
Rwandan troops were able to recapture the port city of Mocímboa da Praia, a key insurgent stronghold, shortly after beginning the mission. The SAMIM forces have since retaken other villages and assisted with humanitarian aid.
Extremists have operated in the region since 2017, with multiple attacks on civilians as well as multinational corporate interests in Cabo Delgado, the center of Mozambique’s LNG operations.