Malawi Defence Force (MDF) says it will not deploy soldiers to Mozambique as part of a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) standby force under the banner Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC).
In an interview yesterday, MDF acting spokesperson Major Calvin Mlelemba said there are “no plans to deploy troops to Mozambique as of now”.
“That is all I can say as of now. Unless there is a new development, then we will communicate to your publication and the nation,” he said.
The response follows an announcement by Sadc executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax at the end of a one-day summit on June 23 2021 that Sadc Heads of State and Government had approved the mandate for the standby force mission to quell the situation in On June 23 this year, Sadc executive secretary Stergomena Tax announced at the end of a one-day summit that the Sadc Heads of State and Government had approved the mandate for the standby force mission to Calbo Delgado Provide in Mozambique to help combat terrorism and extremism.
President Lazarus Chakwera, as incoming chairperson of Sadc, was part of the Double Troika Summit that approved the deployment alongside Mozambique President and current Sadc chairperson Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and several regional heads.
Mlelemba said Sadc member States were making pledges and that Malawi has not pledged troops to Mozambique under RDC.
He said: “It is true that Malawi is party to the pact and have participated in all the meetings conducted in preparation for the deployment of troops to Mozambique. But Malawi has not pledged troops.”
Sadc leaders resolved to deploy forces to Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado Province to support the country’s military in its fight against an Islamist insurgency.
The resolution was made at the Extraordinary Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit held in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, as a continuation of the bloc’s efforts to address the terrorism in Cabo Delgado.
Terrorists linked to Al Shabab have killed hundreds of people in the province and displaced thousands of others since 2017.
The rebels last year captured the key port town of Mocimboa da Praia.
Deployment of troops follow a recommendation made by a Sadc technical assessment team, who in April recommended deployment of a 3 000-strong regional force to help Mozambique “combat and neutralise” the insurgents and recapture territory they had taken.
During the June 23 summit, the Sadc leaders also approved $12 million budget for the deployment of the troops.
The sources of financing for this force are made up of a contingency fund and contributions from member States that participate in the troops.
The standby force is part of a regional defence pact that allows military intervention to prevent the spread of conflict.
Malawi currently has troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo under a United Nations mission.