By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU –  The recently held 43rd  Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State and Government has resolved to extend the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) by 12 months.

Initially the mission duration was set at 90 days, it has been extended several times due to ongoing insurgency and lack of calm and order in some areas.

“Summit endorsed the extension of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) by twelve months, and commended Member States , SAMIM Mission Leadership and Personnel for their dedication and contribution in supporting the Mission to achieve peace and security in Carbo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique and the commencement of a phased drawdown of SAMIM,” reads the SADC Communiqué.

The SAMIM was established on July 15, 2021, after receiving authorization from the Special SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.

Then, the Summit “urged the Member States in collaboration with Humanitarian Agencies to continue providing support to the population affected by the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, including internally displaced persons”.

The purpose of the SAMIM is to provide regional assistance to Mozambique in addressing terrorism and violent extremism in the Carbo Delgado Province.

There have been reports of terrorist activities that target civilians, including women and children causing displacement of many families.

The initial group of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) contingent was sent to Mozambique in 2021.

The LDF contingent forms part of the SADC reinforcement mission deployed to stabilize the region persecuted by the insurgents linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Lesotho is providing Mozambique with various land army skills including cooking, medicine, intelligence, law, and armory as part of her contribution to the conflict ridden Carbo Delgado Province in that country.

After stabilizing the area, the intention is then to transition into peacekeeping efforts once the situation improves.

The President of Mozambique HE Filipe Jacinto Nyusi had last year  traveled to the campsite of the LDF contingent deployed to fight insurgents in the Nangade district in Mozambique to thank them for the humanitarian efforts they have displayed in that country.

“I have received positive reports from the population of Nangade on how harmoniously they are living with the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) forces deployed in this district,” said the President of Mozambique.

According to the LDF, the President further expressed his gratitude saying: “I have come personally to thank you. I thank your government for allowing its soldiers to come and operate in Mozambique for restoration of peace and stability.”

He added: “Most importantly I thank you brave soldiers of Lesotho deployed here for your sacrifice to the people of Mozambique.”    

Nyusi then called on the LDF troops to keep insurgents “busy so that they will not come close to them by continuing harassing them in the bush.”

Lesotho soldiers in Mozambique reinforce SADC forces, restore order and stabilize the terrorist attacks in the region of Cabo Delgado in that country perpetrated by the insurgents linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

During the sendoff ceremony of the first contingent at Makoanyane barracks, the LDF commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela charged his troops to “raise the Lesotho flag high” in that country.