Mozambican soldiers (right) and Rwandan police officers in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique.
- SADC has warned that insurgents are regrouping for more coordinated attacks.
- Professor Adriano Nuvunga called on the regional body to use dialogue and integrate the inhabitants as actors and not as victims.
- Piers Pigou of Crisis Group says SADC and Rwanda should coordinate, otherwise there is a long way to go.
While the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has noted considerable gains in Cabo Delgado, there are real fears that the insurgents have withdrawn to regroup and are considering rejuvenating the attacks.
In an interview with News24, Professor Adriano Nuvunga – the director of the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) and member of the steering committee of the Network of Human Rights Defenders of Mozambique (RMDDH) – warned SADC to do not relax because the insurgents could strike at any time.
“The insurgency is not yet neutralized. The violent extremists are regrouping, launching attacks from several parts of Cabo Delgado and they are also spreading to the neighboring province of Niassa where they have launched major attacks,” he said. he declared.
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SADC sent its standby force to Mozambique’s diesel-rich Cabo Delgado in July last year, a month after Rwanda sent troops.
At the start of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SMIM), Nuvunga said the insurgents were dissolving. However, six months later, they had changed their strategy.
“At the start of the deployment, we saw violent extremists disband. Now we have seen them regroup and move in terms of recruitment,” he added.
SADC heads of state and government meeting in Malawi on Wednesday agreed to fight the insurgents with “equal measure”, and extended the SMIM by three more months.
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But Nugunga said a key element missing from SADC’s mission to quell attacks in Cabo Delgado was dialogue.
“It should be expanded to cover other areas. One of the missing areas is the question of dialogue. Dialogue means moving from a purely militarist approach to one focused on governance. It goes beyond development towards a security strategy more centered on the community, the local populations pass from the status of victims to that of actors of development – bottom-up initiatives – having their points of view, perspectives on what is happening to them. lead the political response, ”he said.
Piers Pigou, Crisis Group’s senior consultant for southern Africa, told News24 that SADC would have to address its financial constraints in Cabo Delgado if the regional bloc were to push for a sustained operation over the next three months.
The immediate challenges for SADC relate to funding their deployment, which continues to restrict the expansion or consolidation of intervention beyond the anticipated deployment of special forces. This limits the potential impact.
Pigou warned that the conflict in Cabo Delgado could last for years to come due to an apparent disconnection between joint SADC forces and Rwandan forces.
“There seems to be a disconnect between the joint forces, there is no adequate intelligence sharing or strategic coordination. and then Tuesday, Wednesday, there were the SADC meetings. Mozambique is the common denominator and they should inform each other about these kinds of issues, ”he said.
At least 3,500 people are estimated to have died and nearly a million have fled their homes since attacks by Islamic extremist groups began in 2017.
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