Zimbabwe Is ‘Ready’ to Help Mozambique Fight Islamists

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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his country is ready to help neighboring Mozambique fight a devastating Islamist insurgency that’s raising alarm across the region.

Mnangagwa took to Twitter on Tuesday to voice support for Mozambique’s government. His comments came after police there said militants beheaded more than 50 people in the northern part of the country during attacks on several villages.

“These acts of barbarity must be stamped out wherever they are found,” Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe Is ‘Ready’ to Help Mozambique Fight Islamists

Last month, Zimbabwe urged the Southern African Development Community, a regional economic bloc, to invoke a mutual defense pact and assist Mozambique, saying the country can’t be expected to deal with the insurgency alone.

In September, the U.S. approached Zimbabwe to help put down the Islamist insurgency, which has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in the Cabo Delgado province. In exchange for the assistance requested by the U.S., Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo was reported to have asked that targeted sanctions imposed nearly two decades ago be removed.

Zimbabwe has a long history of involvement in Mozambique. The guerrilla army affiliated to its ruling party used the country as a base from which to launch attacks on then White-ruled Rhodesia in a 1970s liberation war. In the 1980s and 1990s, Zimbabwean troops intervened to quell a rebellion by militants affiliated to Mozambique’s opposition Renamo party.

Zimbabwean Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said Wednesday Mozambique has approached countries further afield for assistance after SADC failed to formulate a proposal on how to handle the insurgency.

“We are seeing Mozambique now approaching countries like the U.S. and France for assistance,” Muchinguri-Kashiri was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper. “We do not know how far they have gone in that direction.”

Mozambique needs to be secured because landlocked Zimbabwe relies on the neighboring state’s ports for its imports and exports, she said. “It is in our best interests that SADC moves in quickly to address the situation,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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