The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation has hailed progress in instilling peace in the Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, said this during the opening of the meeting to review the deployment of the Sadc Mission in Mozambique (Samim).
The meeting, which President Lazarus Chakwera attended in his capacity as Sadc chairperson, is meant to discuss modalities of combating terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province.
Ramaphosa said: “As we consider the agenda before us, we are cognisant of the magnitude of ground that still needs to be covered in the work of Samim. Therefore, we cannot let our guard down.
“Terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of our region as its presence will reverse the stability and progress Sadc has achieved in its four decades of existence”.
He said acts of terrorism and violent extremism that have led to loss of lives, property and displacement of people, especially women and children, cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate response.
Ramaphosa said since the deployment of Samin in Mozambique about six months ago, significant progress has been made.
He noted the security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, which has allowed some internally displaced persons to return to their homes and resume their normal lives.
Ramaphosa said efforts of the Sadc Mission, working in collaboration with the Mozambican Defence Force, has created safe passage to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by terrorist activities.
However, he said while there are such gains of the mission, there have also been challenges as witnessed by casualties Samim and the Mozambican Defence Force suffered.
“I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania, and my Government, South Africa, for the demise of our brave sons, who were lost in the line of duty,” Ramaphosa said.
In his remarks, Sadc executive secretary Elias Magosi said the decision to deploy the Sadc Mission in Mozambique remains a noble undertaking for collective regional response to support Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism.
Yesterday’s meeting follows the previous one held in Pretoria on October 5 2021 that agreed to extend Samim mandate for another three months until January 15 this year.
Reports from yesterday’s meeting will help in guiding Sadc decisions and recommendations, which will be presented at the Extraordinary Summit today.
The mandate of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is to promote peace and security in the region.