Americans underscore ‘threat’ as BDF, SADC forces exit Moz

Last month, the BBC reported that Botswana and Lesotho have already pulled their soldiers out PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Last month, the BBC reported that Botswana and Lesotho have already pulled their soldiers out PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Even though the US-Africa Command (AFRICOM) is convinced that the threat of insurgents in the Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, has not been neutralised, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has put aside the claims leaving the area with heads held high.

The BDF is part of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) forces, which began withdrawing from the insurgency-hit Cabo Delgado province in April this year. With the eight countries not extending their three-year mandate, the AFRICOM, whose mandate is to promote regional stability and security, has revealed that at the moment, the insurgents are waiting for SAMIM forces to leave. In an interview with Mmegi this week, BDF's Director of Protocol and Public Affairs, Colonel Magosi Moshagane, said despite the fact that responsibility for the mission evaluation and assessment to determine operational successes and or shortcomings lies with SADC, it is important to reemphasise that since the deployment of SAMIM Forces to Mozambique, the terrorist activities in the Province have been significantly neutralised. Moshagane further maintained that terrorist activities’ combat potential has been seriously degraded allowing ordinary citizens to resettle back into their villages and towns as the human life in those areas gradually returned to normality.

Mmegi had asked the BDF to respond to AFRICOM’s assessment that the threat has not been neutralised. AFRICOM is still worried about the Cabo Delgado threat despite Rwanda’s last month deployment of an additional 2, 500 soldiers to help Mozambique fight resurgent attacks by the Islamic State insurgents in the oil-rich Cabo Delgado province. Attacks have been on the rise in the area as SAMIM continues to withdraw. In an interview with Mmegi ahead of this week’s African Chiefs of Defence Conference, the AFRICOM Director of Intelligence, Brigadier General Rose Keravuori pointed out that they have been looking and monitoring to see if the insurgents have gone away or gone into hiding. “They are an adaptive and a smart group. They have adapted to the changes in tactics by either SAMIM or Rwandan forces. They also know when there is a timeline for an exit by the SADC forces so they also know when to wait,” she said. Keravuori indicated that ISIS between countries share lessons learned, and are working with each other to see how they can kidnap for ransom, earn more money to finance their operations. She said they have observed that ISIS Mozambique has made a comeback after some of the SAMIM forces left since April. Keravuori added the insurgents have been adapting to their tactics and procedures to see what works. “Typically, in the military what we like to have is some type of military victory that forces the fighting and insurgents to the negotiating table. Once you are able to negotiate, that military victory allows you time to start negotiating and allow people not to be radicalised and be brought back to society,” she emphasised. Keravuori said because most of that has not been done, it is difficult to say that ISIS has given up. She said as a military member looking at the situation, she would want to see everything that has not been done completed before the forces depart. AFRICOM counters transnational threats and malign actors, strengthens security forces and responds to crises in order to advance US national interests and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.

Editor's Comment
Stop the children killing madness!

The incident comes on the heels of a similar one where a father murdered his two toddlers in Francistown. As we grapple with the shock and sorrow of this loss, it is essential to address the underlying issues that led to such a horrific outcome.Our hearts go out to the innocent victims, the three boys aged 13, 10, and eight who lost their lives in circumstances that defy comprehension. Their deep cuts and untimely demise have left a scar on the...

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