In principle, it appears South Africa Defence Forces are prepared to assist Mozambique. Importantly, Mozambique requested assistance from SADC countries as far back as May. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation says the original request by Mozambique was tabled in May.
South Africa to assist Mozambique
Apparently, at that time, Mozambique was requested to supply SADC with direction on their requirements. Additionally, at a meeting in August, SADC agreed to assist. However, Pandor says South Africa is still awaiting a “roadmap” from Mozambique.
According to the Daily Maverick, 3 September, Pandor, addressing Parliament said, “If it’s more intelligence support. If it’s the SA Navy patrolling the coast, [or]…assistance from our Defence Force, we as South Africa stand ready.”
Islamic Insurgents operating in the Northern province of Cabo Delgado
South African investors have business interests in the gas fields of Cabo Delgado. Seemingly, the first attacks in the province coincided with the gas fields being earmarked for development. Moreover, the attacks are vicious. Additionally, veteran soldier, Col. Lionel Dyck says the attacks are the worst he has ever seen. Furthermore,, Dyck trained Zimbabwean troops shortly after independence.
Apparently, he assisted the Zimbabwe troops in the defeat of Mozambique rebels 35 years ago. Thereafter, he worked on landmine removal around the world and with anti-poaching units protecting rhino in South Africa. Moreover, in an interview with The Telegraph, Dyck said, “The local civilian population has suffered dreadfully at the hands of these insurgents who commit Isis-style beheading and dismemberment on hundreds of peaceful farming peasants.”
SADC slow to respond to Mozambique
Importantly, four months is a long time in a terrorism situation. Unfortunately, people are dying terrible deaths while SADC’s response to requests for help has been slow. Therefore, Pandor’s announcement will no doubt be a relief for Mozambicans.
South Africa not immune to attacks
Unsurprisingly, ISIS issued a warning to South Africa to stay out of Mozambique soon after the appeal for help. Interestingly, at the end of July, a raid on a home in Klipriver, Durban, uncovered suspected Islamic terrorist activity. Moreover, as reported in Daily Maverick, July 30th, the raid serves to “amplify” the warning from ISIS.
With oil and gas fields off Mossel Bay currently hailed as ‘the new Saudi’, the South African Defence Force needs to step up training. Historically, Islamic attacks appear to follow oil and gas reserves.
South Africa, have your say in the comments below.