Africa We Want

SADC military intervention in Mozambique ends soon

Botswana troops assigned to keep peace in Mozambique will in a few months witness the end of their SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), Botswana’s Defence and Security Minister, Kagiso Mmusi told Mmegi this week. By Pini Bothoko

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) deployed its troops to Mozabique in 2021 to take part in the SADC mission. Since then, the BDF has been deploying soldiers on a rotational basis. Initially, the mission was three months, but it was extended to six months and it was later extended by a further six months.

SADC has since taken a decision that the recent deployment extension will be the last six months of the troops to Mozabique. Defence Minister, Mmusi revealed in an interview with Mmegi. “SADC has taken a decision that this will be the last six months for our troops in Mozambique.

Back in July 2021, SADC deployed troops to fight insurgency in Mozambique and have since taken a decision to stop the mission because it has also downgraded. The SAMIM mission has gained significant success including dislodging terrorists from their strongholds and denying them the ability to deploy at will,” he said.

Months ago, the BDF had indicated that the mission has been downgraded from scenario six to scenario five and it is anticipated that the mission will be completed in July 2024 unless otherwise and part of the troops are likely to return this month.

About 3 ,000 people in Mozambique were estimated to have been killed by Islamist insurgents with 800, 000 displaced from their homes in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado Province. “The mission started off as a rapid deployment force where only highly trained soldiers were deployed. Later it was downgraded to scenario six and, recently, scenario five because the situation in Mozambique is now calm,” said the BDF then.

Mmusi further stated that the BDF troops and others from other countries have been training Mozambique soldiers within the regional security and promoting peaceful co-existence as it could not enjoy peace and stability while its neighbour, Mozambique was embroiled in turmoil.

Meanwhile, delivering the State of The Nation Address (SONA), President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the country’s current participation in the SAMIM, and military observers engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo bears testimony to promoting peace and stability in the SADC region. “The SAMIM was recently extended up to July 2024. Once again, we thank our men and women in uniform for their commitment to protect our country and the region. I also thank Batswana for their willingness to avail national resources to help a friendly nation indeed.

Re dira Setswana sa rona se se reng, matlo go sha mabapi...,” Masisi said then. Asked about the welfare of soldiers in Mozambique, Mmusi said the troops are currently doing well in Mozambique and remain resolute to bring peace and security to the people of Mozambique.

Last year December Botswana recorded its first combat death after Lance Corporal Zikamee Kamai was killed by Ahlu-Sunnah Wal-Jamaah (ASWJ) terrorists in the area of Nkonga village in Nangade district, Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique alongside Sergeant Musa Mpondo from Tanzania. Kamai was deployed as part of the BDF third contingent under SAMIM forces in the Cabo Delgado region for a peace support operation.

The first BDF member was killed in a vehicle accident in July 2021 while the second died in an accidental fire discharge at Pemba, Mozambique. However, since the deployment, the BDF was overwhelmed with deaths incidents, suicide and homicides.

In one of the major incidents registered by the military during a SADC mission, a high ranking officer deployed in Mozambique killed a female subordinate before turning the gun on himself. They were alleged to be lovers. In another incident, back in January this year, another army officer deployed on the same mission committed suicide due to unknown reasons.

This resulted in members of the public across social media platforms having mixed reactions over the strings of killings as they also occurred locally with some BDF members appearing in different courts of law in relation to crimes such as rape, defilement, and murder.

There was a serious public outcry on the matter, something that forced the Defence Minister to publicly condemn the acts of the BDF members. The Minister pointed out that such incidents were dragging the institution’s reputation in the mud. Moreover, the matter was debated in Parliament and at Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted to find out what the institution was doing in response to the recent spike in intimate partner killings involving members of the defence force.

These social ills spiralled out of control despite the institution’s effort to offer psycho-social support to the army officers. Then, the BDF leadership disclosed to be having plans in place to respond to these killings admitting to be faced with a problem.

BDF spokesperson, Mogosi Moshagane disclosed that the army has expeditiously taken a deliberate decision to enhance the capacity of the psycho-social support services. He further explained that the decision will extensively reach out to all service personnel and their families, both locally and abroad. Months later, the BDF hosted a mass lecture on gender-based violence (GBV), suicide and financial literacy to sensitise soldiers on these issues.

Author: MANZI


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