South African military deploys troops to Pemba, northern Mozambique

South African military deploys troops to Pemba, northern Mozambique
Ilha de Moçambique, Mozambique

SADC ground and naval forces have arrived in Mozambique’s troubled northern province as part of a combined regional force to quell insurgents who have caused much suffering and whose presence in a member state presents a threat to the whole region.

On its part, Zimbabwe is sending a team of 304 defence instructors to Mozambique to train Mozambican troops as part of its commitment to the SADC Standby Force Mission.

Already, Botswana has deployed 296 troops to Mozambique to join soldiers from the SADC region after regional leaders agreed in June to respond with proportionate force to the terrorists in the Cabo Delgado region who have left a trail of bloodshed and wrecked the country’s economy.

South African media reported yesterday that the country’s South African National Defence Force (SANDF) showed its presence in the Indian Ocean heading to the Cabo Delgado as the region moves in to help Mozambique deal with the terrorists who have killed about 2 800 people in cold blood and displaced over 800 000 more.

As part of Zimbabwe’s contribution, last week Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri announced that President Mnangagwa, who is also the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will be deploying instructors to Mozambique in accordance with the country’s Constitution.

“Zimbabwe is awaiting the signing of the Status Force Agreement after which the Zimbabwe training continent will be sent to Mozambique. Once the training team is dispatched, Parliament will be informed accordingly in terms of section 214 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” she said.

A Status Force Agreement is an accord that allows foreign troops to deploy into a host country, and presently South Africa and Botswana have signed the agreement with Mozambique.

Minister Muchinguri said Zimbabwe’s impending deployment to Mozambique is in terms of section 213(1) (a) and subsection 213 (3) of the Constitution which state that the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces has authority to deploy the Defence Forces outside Zimbabwe for reasons including defending the territorial integrity of a foreign country.

“This issue is no doubt of great importance to Zimbabwe considering our proximity to and warm relations with Mozambique and is also critical to the peace, security, and stability of the entire SADC region.”