By Jorge Joaquim
South Africa is already “assisting” Mozambique in the fight against the Islamic State-linked terrorists attacks in Cabo Delgado, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said, but could not give details as to how.
Pandor told the Daily Maverick her government had been engaging with Portugal, which was “very active” in Mozambique and already had “soldiers, feet on the ground. They want us to collaborate… they would like SADC [the Southern African Development Community] to play a key role,” she said. SADC countries had the capacity to do that, she added.
However, before South Africa could help, it first needed to understand what Mozambique wanted, whether helicopters, boats or training, Pandor added. “It’s a puzzle for us. Why they don’t actually tell us what it is they need,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Mozambican military has met less than half of its target for conscription in Cabo Delgado province, which an official has blamed on the displacement of people due to the terrorists attacks.
There have been 6,294 young people conscripted out of an expected 14,952 with only two weeks left for the end of the conscription process that started on 4 January 2021. Foncina Búfalo, provincial delegate for the military recruitment and mobilisation centre, said that it was related to people abandoning their homes in the districts of Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Quissanga and Macomia, and the delay in resuming classes, as many young people were found by the military in schools.
Búfalo said that registration brigades had been sent to the accommodation centres for refugees, but even so there were difficulties in registering young people, because they said they had lost their documents when fleeing from terrorists and the system did not allow registration without ID.