Military Intervention in Mozambique Seen as Last Resort for SADC

Regional military intervention to help Mozambique contain an Islamist insurgency in its gas-rich northern province would be a last resort and only happen if the southeast African nation asked for it, according to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Heads of state from the Southern African Development Community are due to meet again later this month to decide how it can assist Mozambique end violence that’s left at least 2,860 people dead and forced almost 800,000 to flee their homes. The fighting also prompted TotalEnergies SE to stall plans for a $20 billion gas-export project.

“We’ve been applying our minds and meeting over it for some period now and I’m glad that at every meeting, we inch closer to helping Mozambique,” Masisi said Friday in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. Military intervention is “always an option, but it’s after due analysis, advice and caution. It is the last option,” he said.

Mozambique’s government has so far resisted pressure to accept regional soldiers to it battle an insurgency aligned to Islamic State. Leaders from SADC, primarily a trading bloc, are set to meet “to reach an agreement on the appropriate regional response in support of Mozambique,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday.

The Botswana president is the current chair of the SADC committee dealing with security in the region.

“There are offers of help bilaterally between Mozambique and a number of countries and there are also offers of help by way of decisions that by procedure need to be sanctioned by the SADC heads of state summit,” Masisi said. “Mozambique is a sovereign nation state. There is no brigade of SADC or any country that will enter Mozambique without it’s express permission and invitation.”

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