Southern African bloc extends troop deployment in Mozambique

The extension is provisional, pending a heads-of-state meeting of the group scheduled for August 17 to August 18, the bloc said.
Image: Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP

A southern African bloc provisionally prolonged the stay of its soldiers in northern Mozambique to help fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency.

A virtual summit of the 16-member Southern African Development Community leaders agreed to again extend the deployment beyond the previously approved deadline of July 15. The extension is provisional, pending a heads-of-state meeting of the group scheduled for August 17 to August 18, the bloc said in a statement emailed by Mozambique’s presidency Thursday.

SADC’s troops started arriving in Mozambique’s gas-rich Cabo Delgado province a year ago, joining those from Rwanda, which is not part of the bloc. The southeast African nation’s government belatedly sought international help to beat back an insurgency that had in March besieged a town near a $20 billion liquefied natural gas project TotalEnergies SE is building, prompting the company to indefinitely freeze work and evacuate all its staff.

Since the arrival of regional soldiers, the Mozambican government has managed to dislodge the rebels from major towns and destroy many of their bases. Still, the insurgents have dispersed into densely forested areas, and continue to carry out frequent deadly raids over an expanding geographical area.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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