By Nyasha Mutena
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has noted with concern the continued insurgency in the Cabo Delgado region in Northern Mozambique citing that it is a huge threat to regional stability.
Through an official statement yesterday Tuesday April 6, 2021, CiZC had this to say;
“We are worried over the continued loss of lives, displacements and the humanitarian situation unfolding in the Cabo Delgado region. The Coalition is convinced that the role of SADC in ensuring regional peace and stability remains essential and necessary.
“As Crisis Coalition, we appreciate efforts by the SADC Double Troika to convene an Extraordinary Summit on the Mozambican crisis in Maputo on April 8, 2021”.
Ahead of the Double Troika Extraordinary Summit, CiZC stated that the Mocambican insurgency, which began in 2017 has displaced nearly 700 000 people from their homes while an estimated 3 000 people have lost their lives at the hands of the insurgents.
“We are further disturbed that the Cabo Delgado conflict is a threat to human security and regional stability. We remain concerned over the continued humanitarian crisis in the Cabo Delgado region which has left more than one million people in urgent need of food aid,” CiZC added.
Further, CiZC highlighted that on November 11, 2020, the coalition condemned the beheading of more than 50 people in the village of Aldeia da Paz outside Macomia in Northern Mozambique by the insurgents. As such, they made a passionate call for SADC to intervene in assisting the Mozambican government deal with the insurgents.
Going forward, on November 27, 2020 the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security convened an extra-ordinary meeting in Botswana on the Mozambican crisis which was followed by another meeting held on December 14, 2020 in Mozambique. The December 2020 meeting resolved that there would be a second extraordinary meeting on Mozambique to be held in January 2021.
“Following these events, we issued a statement on March 17, 2021 expressing disappointment over the apparent lackadaisical approach on the part of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in coming up with a concrete plan on the crisis in the Northern part of Mozambique.
“We reiterate that the insurgency in the northern part of Mozambique is a call to action by SADC. It is our firm position that the insurgency in northern Mozambique is a threat to human security not only in Mozambique but the rest of the SADC region hence the need for SADC to intervene and save the situation,” said CiZC.
CiZC therefore made the following minimum demands ahead of the Double Troika Extra Ordinary Summit on Mozambique;
Mozambique is a signatory to the African Union Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999) and is also part of the SADC Regional Strategy on Countering Terrorism developed in 2015 and this allows for support to the Mozambican government in dealing with the Islamist insurgents.
That the Extra-Ordinary Double Troika Summit on Mozambique must come up with a solid crisis response plan, SADC must invoke Article 6(1) of the SADC Mutual Defence Pact which considers an armed attack against a member state as a threat to regional security.
Also, military deployment to assist Mozambican security forces in dealing with the insurgents remains a viable option in light of the threats to regional stability.
“On our part as the Crisis Coalition, we sent a delegation to Maputo and the delegation engaged civic society groups, church groups and representatives from Frelimo from March 23-26, 2021. The Cabo Delgado conflict was among regional issues discussed during our engagements in Maputo.
“As part of the collective resolutions from the engagements, a call was made for SADC to convene an Extra-ordinary Summit on the Cabo Delgado conflict and other regional issues deserving urgent attention,” CiZC added.
In addition, CiZC implored SADC to discuss issues in other hotspot areas in line with the regional body’s mandate to maintain peace and stability within the region.