President Cyril Ramaphosa and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads of states are on Wednesday participating in an extraordinary summit in Malawi to review the deployment of soldiers in Mozambique.
Addressing a two-day extraordinary organ troika summit, held together with countries contributing personnel, Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the region will continue to fight acts of terrorism and violent extremism in parts of Cabo Delgado province.
The meeting, chaired by Sadc chair Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, takes place six months after the regional bloc approved the deployment of the soldiers to Mozambique.
“As a region, we resolved that acts of terrorism and violent extremism that have led to loss of lives, property and displacement of people, especially women and children, cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate response,” said Ramaphosa.
The aim of the deployment is to “neutralise the terrorist threat and restore security to create a secure environment, strengthen and maintain peace and security, and restore public security, law and order in affected areas.”
When the regional leaders met in October last year, they agreed to extend the Sadc mission in Mozambique (Samim) deployment until January 15 at a cost of almost R1bn to the SA taxpayer.
Ramaphosa said significant progress had been made since the deployment.
“The security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, which has allowed for some internally displaced people 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.
“While we note the gains of this mission, there have also been challenges. We are saddened by the casualties suffered by Samim and the Mozambican defence force. I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, and my government, SA, for the demise of our brave sons lost in the line of duty.”
In December TimesLIVE reported that an SA soldier, who was deployed in Operation Vikela, was killed when forces came under attack from insurgents during an ambush in the area east of Chai village.
Ramaphosa wished those who were wounded a speedy recovery.