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Cabo Delgado: South Africa Extends Military Mission Until 31 December This Year

Cabo Delgado: South Africa Extends Military Mission Until 31 December This Year

The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has extended the South African Armed Forces (SANDF) operation until 31 December this year, with 1495 military personnel who will continue to assist in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.

In a letter addressed to the South African Parliament and published by Lusa on Wednesday (24), the statesman said that the extension of the mission, called “Operation Vikela”, will cost 984.3 million rands (3.2 billion meticals) and came into effect on 16 April.

“The SANDF elements deployed will continue with their responsibilities in combating acts of terrorism and extremist violence in northern Mozambique,” reads the letter. In the letter, Ramaphosa explains that this extension aims to fulfil South Africa’s “international obligations” to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the fight against terrorism in the region.

A group of South military personnel, called “Delta Team”, began leaving Mozambique on 13 April, as part of the withdrawal process that began earlier this month with Botswana’s military personnel, as part of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).

The mission has been in Cabo Delgado since mid-2021 and, in August 2023, SADC approved its extension for a further 12 months, until July 2024, with a plan for the progressive withdrawal of forces from the eight countries in the region that make up the mission.

SAMIM comprises troops from eight SADC contributing countries, namely Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, the Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.

Last month, the Mozambican government announced that SAMIM would be leaving the country due to financial constraints. At the time, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Verónica Macamo, explained that “in view of the budgetary limitations, SADC understood that the situation in Mozambique” was “considerably stable compared to the escalation of violence taking place in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 120 armed groups are fighting for a share of the region’s gold and other natural resources, and carrying out mass killings”.

“SAMIM is facing some financial problems, countries are not able to put up the necessary money. Mozambique also has to take care of its troops, so we would have difficulty paying for the services of this mission,” he said.

Cabo Delgado province has been facing terrorist attacks for more than six years, which led to a military response since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community, liberating districts near the gas projects.

After a period of relative stability, new attacks and movements have been recorded in recent weeks, leading foreign entities to restrict travel to that part of the country.


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