THE United States has warned that the terrorist attacks in Mozambique are beginning to spill over into neighbouring countries, hence the need for a concerted regional effort to put down the deadly insurgency.
The terrorist attacks linked to the Islamic State took over Mocímboa da Praia in August in one of a series of brazen attacks this year in Mozambique’s northern-most Cabo Delgado province.
The Islamic militants have killed over 2 000 people in grisly fashion in the past three years, although they have particularly scaled up attacks in the past six months.
An estimated half a million people have been displaced.
Speaking in a teleconference from Washington after his recent visit to the Southern Africa region US Ambassador-at-large Nathan Sales, Co-ordinator for Counterterrorism and Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said the US was committed to assisting in fighting insurgency in the neighbouring countries.
“We are already starting to see a bit of spill over from the violence in Cabo Delgado into neighbouring countries,” he said.
“And so as much as we want to work on a bilateral basis with countries that are affected, it’s also important to have multi-stakeholder conversations so that countries that are affected by this violence can coordinate their efforts and make sure that we’re bringing to bear the full suite of our respective capabilities and resources to address the problem set.”
“It raises an important point which is that transnational and regional solutions really are essential to getting terrorists threats under control,” he added.
He said in his trip to Mozambique and South Africa, he engaged government officials to garner support for increased cooperation on counterterrorism issues.
“I think this raises an important point, which is that transnational and regional solutions really are essential to getting terrorist threats under control and to degrading and defeating terrorist networks,” Sales said.
The US, he added, was committed to fighting terrorism in the region and beyond as they have always done in several other countries.
“The fact that I travelled to southern Africa under the circumstances is an indication of how seriously the United States takes the terror situation on that part of the continent as well as how seriously we take our commitment to work with partner nations to address this threat,” Sales said.
“The US and the government of Mozambique have a shared interest in peace and stability. We have seen ongoing violence in the Northern Province and we are concerned this violence threatens the security of Mozambican citizens and threatens development and has potential to undermine livelihoods of Mozambican people.”
He said the terror attacks have caused a severe humanitarian crisis in the southern African country.
“Here in the United States our key priority is counter terrorism with security support while protecting the civilian population by providing the humanitarian assistance to those who have been displaced by violence.”
“The US wants to be Mozambique’s security partner of choice in strengthening border security and in strengthening its capacity to counter terrorist activity.”
Sales’ statements come at a time the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security last week announced it was considering a joint military effort in Mozambique.
The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit directed the finalisation of a comprehensive regional response and support to Mozambique to be considered urgently by the Summit, the Organ said in a communique.
Sadc is due to hold an extraordinary heads of state and government summit of all the 16 member states in March 2021 in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Sadc Parliamentary Forum, during its virtual meeting at the weekend, unanimously adopted a motion moved by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to urgently intervene and save Mozambique.