Chairperson of the Organ of Defence and security President Cyril Ramaphosa says acts of terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as it will reverse the stability and progress achieved in its four decades of existence.
Speaking during the opening of the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit held together with troops contributing countries plus the Republic of Mozambique, Ramaphosa was upbeat the meeting will present a strengthened commitment to defeat and uproot terrorism from the region.
He acknowledged the terrorism and acts of violent extremism in some parts of Cabo Delgado Province, in the Republic of Mozambique which has led to loss of lives, property and displacement of people, especially women and children.
Ramaphosa stressed that these acts of terrorism and violent extremism cannot be allowed to continue without proportionate response.
“Your Excellencies, as we consider the agenda before us, we are cognisant of the magnitude of ground that still needs to be covered in the work of SAMIM. Therefore, we cannot let our guard down. Terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of our region as its presence will reverse the stability and progress SADC has achieved in its four decades of existence.
“Our meeting today must indicate a strengthened commitment to defeat and uproot terrorism from our region. I look forward to our deliberations on the critical issues on the agenda before us,” he noted.
The Extraordinary SADC Summit held six months ago approved the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province, by neutralising the terrorist threat and restoring security to create a secure environment; strengthening and maintaining peace and security; and restoring public security, law and order in affected areas.
The South African President spoke on the significant progress made since the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique.
Among others, he noted that the security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, and has allowed for some internally displaced persons to return to their homes and resume their normal lives.
“The efforts of our Mission, working in collaboration with the Mozambican Defence Force, has created safe passage to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by terrorist activities. I wish to express appreciation and commend the work of SAMIM on the ground. I equally appreciate and commend member states who have supported this work financially and through the deployment of personnel and equipment”
He also extended deepest condolences to the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania and South Africa Government on the passing of brave sons, lost in the line of duty.
Ramaphosa indicated that SADC will forever cherish their service and contribution to peace and security in the region and also extend speedy recovery of those who were wounded in action.
SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi stressed on the need to strengthen peace, restore law and order in the affected places as it threatens the objectives of the regional grouping.
He informed delegates that when he visited Mozambique, he saw first-hand the commitment and determination of the troops the regional block sent into the mission who are working day and night to ensure peace and security prevails in Mozambique.
Magosi stated that he engaged Mozambican officials and development partners on the remarkable progress made in fighting terrorism.
“I felt it was important to give them moral support even in my small capacity as the Executive secretary but to give them moral support for the sacrifice they make by risking their own lives for this worthy cause.
“During this visit your Excellencies I also had the opportunity to engage with the Mozambican government officials and the international development partners. In my engagement, I was particularly encouraged by the reports of the good relations between the Salmin personnel and the community and the remarkable progress Salmin has made in collaboration with defence forces of Mozambique FADUM and other partners in fighting terrorism in his acts of violent extremism,” he said.
The meeting is expected to shape the direction the mission should take and the required measures to continue supporting it.