By Leopold Munhende
CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has called on SADC to dispatch troops to quell worsening political strife in neighbouring Mozambique where dozens have been killed and close to a million displaced by the extremist group, ISIS.
CiZC has demanded that the SADC Troika meeting on Mozambique set for Thursday comes up with a solid answer to Mozambique’s near four-year-old crisis.
In a press statement Tuesday, CiZC argues political unrest in Mozambique posed a security threat to the entire southern African region.
“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,” said the group.
“We therefore make the following minimum demands ahead of the Double Troika Extra Ordinary Summit on Mozambique; 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.
“Military deployment to assist Mozambican security forces in dealing with the insurgents remains a viable option in light of the threats to regional stability.”
Locally known as al-Shabbab, the militant group being pursued has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, burnt and beheaded dozens in Cabo Delgado province where it overran the city of Palma.
Palma has reportedly been recovered by the Mozambique army, but communication is still cut although army spokesperson Brigadier Chongo Vidigal has been quoted saying the city was now safe.
Added CiZC, “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.”
The jihadist group is primarily made up of locals who are aggrieved at the Mozambique government’s failure to a share with them part of the US$60 billion dollar investment poured in by global oil giant Total in the continent’s largest Liquid Natural Gas project considering it is in their province.