SANDF troops ride along a dirt road in the Maringanha district in Pemba, Mozambique.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended South Africa’s deployment to Mozambique as part of a Southern African Development Community force to quell violent extremism in the country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado.
According to the letter Ramaphosa sent to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the deployment would cost R984 million.
It would involve 1 495 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members “to combat the acts of violent extremists” in the northern parts of Mozambique, fulfilling an international obligation.
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“Members of the SANDF will continue to support the Republic of Mozambique for the period from 16 January 2022 to 15 April 2022,” stated Ramaohosa’s letter, dated 28 February 2022.
It was published in Parliament’s Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC) on Friday.
This followed a decision of the SADC heads of state summit in Lilongwe, Malawi, in January to extend the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) indefinitely.
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There was, however, an understanding that this deployment to fight insurgents in Cabo Delgado would again be reviewed after three months.
Ramaphosa initially deployed 1 495 SANDF members in July last year, also at the cost of R984 million. This was extended by three months in October.
Since 2017, a jihadist organisation called Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah had been waging a violent insurgency in Cabo Delgado. In 2020, the violence escalated. Apart from the SADC deployment, the Rwandan defence force was also supporting the Mozambican defence force.
By last month, close to a million people had been displaced by the conflict, with the death toll more than 3 000.
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