By Jorge Joaquim
The arrival of regional troops from neighbouring countries to fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado province could cause the insurgency to spread, a former guerrilla commander has warned.
Hermínio Morais, who led guerrillas for opposition party Renamo when it was at war with the government, said: “I remember that when the Zimbabwean forces came to support the Mozambican government in fighting Renamo, the revolutionaries began to spread out and split into groups that were then fed by the massive recruitment of young people; this could happen with terrorism in Cabo Delgado”.
The insurgency could spread to the adjacent provinces of Niassa and Nampula, he warned, adding that the regional force needed to have a joint command, to prevent atrocities and looting.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) force has begun arriving in Mozambique, where troops from South Africa and 296 from Botswana are already in place, while a contingent from Zimbabwe is on standby and ready to travel to Cabo Delgado.
Last week Angola’s parliament agreed to send 20 soldiers as military advisers to help fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado province, as part of the SADC’s military force.
The officers will start a three-month mission on 6 August, but will not be involved in combat.
The Angola mission comprises 11 officers to advise the FDS and 9 air force crew members for an Ilyushin-76 transport plane, which will be be included as part of the mission. The initial cost of sending the troops would be $675,000, Francisco Pereira Furtado, Angola’s head of the president’s security office, said.
The total budget for the SADC mission is $12.9m, of which Angola will contribute just over $1m.