Maputo — The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Monday approved a budget of 12 million US dollars to put into motion the SADC Standby Force that will support Mozambique in the struggle against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The Council of Ministers, chaired by Mozambican Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo, met in extraordinary session, in virtual format, to analyse the financial requirementS for the Standby Force.
The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Antonio Macheve, told reporters the meeting was held “in order to analyse matters related to implementing decisions taken by the SADC summit held last week in Maputo”.
The Angolan Foreign Minister, Tete António, cited by the “Voice of America” radio station, said the money will come from a SADC contingency fund plus a seven million dollar contribution from the member states. All the money should be provided by 9 July.
SADC understood that the region was under threat and that the contributions were “a matter of survival”, António said. He added that detailed plans for the SADC intervention are to be drawn up by technical committees in the next few days,
The final communique from last week’s summit said the leaders “approved the Mandate for the SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique, to be deployed in support of Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado”.
The communique gave no details of the Standby Force Mission. However, in April a SADC Technical Mission recommended the immediate dispatch of an intervention force of almost 3,000 troops to Cabo Delgado. The detailed proposal was for three light infantry battalions of 630 troops each, two special forces squadrons of 70 troops each; two attack helicopters; two armed helicopters; two surface patrol ships; one submarine; one maritime surveillance aircraft as well as other logistical support. Whether the SADC leaders have accepted this proposal, in whole or in part, is not yet clear.
Meanwhile, according to a report from the Bloomberg agency, Rwanda plans to deploy troops to assist Mozambique.
“There are plans to deploy, but plans are not finalized yet,” Rwanda Defence Force spokesman Ronald Rwivanga told Bloomberg by phone last Thursday.
However, neither the Mozambican authorities nor SADC have said anything about a possible Rwandan military intervention.