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SADC has reaffirmed its commitment to fighting terrorism in the region, pledging solidarity with Mozambique in efforts to combat insurgency in pursuit of peace.

This came out of a SADC Double Troika meeting held in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, yesterday which also resolved to convene an extraordinary summit by June 20 to discuss the evolving security situation in the region.

President Mnangagwa joined five other regional leaders during the high-level indaba which was called to marshal a robust regional response to growing threats of violent insurgency afflicting northern Mozambique.

The Double Troika comprises Mozambique, the current SADC chair; Malawi (incoming chair) and the United Republic of Tanzania (immediate-past chair).

Other members include countries that constitute the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation — Botswana (current chair), South Africa (incoming) and Zimbabwe (outgoing).

In a communiqué at the end of the Summit, the SADC secretariat said:

“Summit received a report of the chairperson of the Organ on the security situation in Cabo Delgado Province, northern part of Mozambique and reaffirmed its solidarity with the Government and people of the Republic of Mozambique, and its continued efforts in addressing terrorism and ensuring lasting peace and security in Mozambique, which is also a threat to the SADC region.

“Summit noted the progress in finding a lasting solution to terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province, and considered the proposed regional response in support of the Republic of Mozambique.

“Summit agreed to convene an extraordinary Summit by 20 June 2021 to be held in the Republic of Mozambique.”

Insurgents attacked the coastal city of Palma on March 24 and displaced thousands of people.

SADC has already committed to a sub-regional response to deal with the deteriorating security situation in Mozambique, which threatens the whole region.

Yesterday’s meeting was convened to discuss a report from a SADC technical commission on the nature of the terrorist threat in Cabo Delgado and the type of support from SADC that Mozambique requires.

Last month, the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ recommended that summit provides Mozambique with the assistance it requires to tackle the insurgency.

This followed the submission of a report by service chiefs and security services to the Extraordinary SADC Organ Troika on their intended response aimed at quelling Islamic terrorists.

Summit yesterday also noted progress made in the establishment of a regional disaster management centre in Mozambique.

SADC has over the years stressed the need to strengthen its climate resilience and general preparedness against natural disasters such as droughts, cyclones and floods.

These multiple hazards have highlighted the importance of cooperation and coordinated response and responsiveness to disasters, including pandemics, epidemics and related hazards.

“Summit noted progress towards the establishment and operationalisation of the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), which will enhance regional capabilities in risk and disaster management, and commended the Republic of Mozambique for her commitment to host the centre.

“Summit commended the initiative of the Republic of Mozambique to organise a business forum on the margins of the SADC Summit and invited member States to participate.

“Summit expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo following the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption in Goma, which caused the destruction of property, loss of life and displacement of people.”

In her remarks during the opening of the Double Troika meeting, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax said coordinated regional response would help save lives.

She said:

“As directed by your summit that was held here in Maputo, Mozambique on 8 April 2021, a technical team was deployed to the Republic of Mozambique immediately after the summit.

“The technical team report was considered by the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO), and the MCO report will be tabled for your consideration during your today’s summit.

“Your presence here again continues to signify the strength and commitment of the SADC region to collectively and decisively address threats to our peace and security, in particular acts of terrorism.

“Your Excellencies, under your leadership, I am convinced that the recommendations by the technical team, which have also been considered by the Ministerial Committee for the Organ will enable your Summit to come up with a regional response, that will concretely address terrorism in the region, and specifically in the Cabo Delgado Province. In doing so preserve the lives and livelihoods of citizens, and also deter further destruction of infrastructure and properties.”

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava and his Defence and war Veterans Affairs counterpart Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri attended yesterday’s meeting. Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa returned home last night.

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