Picture: 123RF/ZABELIN
Picture: 123RF/ZABELIN

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his country is ready to help neighbouring Mozambique fight a Islamist insurgency that has raised alarm across the region.

Mnangagwa took to Twitter to voice support for Mozambique’s government. His says came after police there said militants beheaded more than 50 people in the northern part of the country during attacks on several villages. 

Mozambique has been struggling to suppress the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group destabilising a region where nearly $60bn in investment in natural gas facilities are planned by Total and ExxonMobil, among other companies, reports said.

“These acts of barbarity must be stamped out wherever they are found,” Mnangagwa said.

Last month, Zimbabwe urged the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), a regional economic bloc, to invoke a mutual defence pact and assist Mozambique, saying the country cannot be expected to deal with the insurgency alone.

In September, the US approached Zimbabwe to help put down the Islamist insurgency, which has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in the Cabo Delgado province. In exchange for the assistance requested by the US, Zimbabwe foreign affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo was reported to have asked that targeted sanctions imposed nearly two decades ago be removed.

Zimbabwean defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said on Wednesday Mozambique has approached countries further afield for assistance after Sadc failed to formulate a proposal on how to handle the insurgency.

“We are seeing Mozambique now approaching countries like the US and France for assistance,” Muchinguri-Kashiri was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper. “We do not know how far they have gone in that direction.”

Mozambique needs to be secured because landlocked Zimbabwe relies on the neighbouring state’s ports for its imports and exports, she said. “It is in our best interests that Sadc moves in quickly to address the situation,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.


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