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SAMIM Has Achieved its Goal, Says Chume

SAMIM Has Achieved its Goal, Says Chume

The Mozambican Defense Minister, Cristóvão Chume, says that the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), helping Mozambican forces in the fight against Islamist terrorists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, has fulfilled the objective for which it was created, which was to recover the areas that were under terrorist control.

According to Chume, who was speaking on Thursday in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, during a question and answer session between the government and the parliamentarians, the mission had fulfilled its objectives after almost two and a half years of supporting the Mozambican Forces in Cabo Delgado.

“The decision to end the SAMIM mission was based on an assessment of the fact that it had fulfilled the objective for which it was created, which was to support the Mozambican Armed Forces in the offensive against terrorists and to regain control of areas that were under their strong influence in the districts of Macomia, Muidumbe, Nangade and Mocímboa da Praia. The mission established good security conditions and the gradual return of the populations to their areas of origin,” the minister said.

Since the SAMIM mission is ending, he said, the government will create conditions for the province to remain safe.

“The Defence and Security Forces will, within the framework of their attributions, fill in SAMIM’s areas of operational responsibility, so that the departure does not create security gaps”, the minister said.

The first SAMIM contingent to withdraw was Botswana, followed by South Africa. The remaining six contingents (from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia) are set to leave Mozambique by July. That will leave only a contingent from Rwanda assisting the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) in resisting the attacks by the jihadists of ASWJ (Ansar al-Sunna Wa Jamma), also known as ISIS-Mozambique.

Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane told the Assembly that the increase in the size of the Rwandan contingent is not related to the end of the mission of SAMIM.

He claimed that the increase in the number of Rwandan troops is only based on the good relations and cooperation agreements between the two countries.

Reacting to the questions raised by Renamo, the largest opposition party in the country, the Prime Minister said that Rwanda is willing to assist Mozambican forces in those recovered areas that once were occupied by terrorists.

“The important thing is that we have a bilateral agreement with Rwanda, and there is a need for them to step up, and they are going to do so, not because the others are leaving, but because we need the help of our Rwandan brothers”, he said.

Regarding the number of troops to be deployed to the northern operational theatre, Maleiane believes this will depend on the reality on the ground.

“This military tactic depends on the needs on the ground and if they bring more people, it will be better for us”, said Maleiane.

According to the Prime Minister, the government has also been working with the European Union in various areas, “including the training of our forces, and the request for funds is not strange. Not least because it’s fair assistance. Now, I can’t specify the amount requested.”

The explanations given by Maleiane and Chume are quite different from that given by the Rwandans themselves.

Earlier this month, Brig-Gen Patrick Karuretwa, head of international cooperation in the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), explicitly linked the likely increase in the Rwandan contingent with the withdrawal of SAMIM.

Speaking to journalists in Kigali, and cited by the South African portal “News 24”, Karuretwa said the withdrawal of the SAMIM forces “obliges us to take certain measures”.

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“We shall train Mozambican soldiers to occupy the places where SAMIM used to be stationed”, he added. “We are also increasing the number of our own forces, and making them more mobile, so that they can cover larger areas”.




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