Ramaphosa confirms deployment of soldiers to Mozambique – at the cost of nearly R1bn

President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent more than 1,400 soldiers to Mozambique to help in ongoing terrorism attacks.

The soldiers have been in Mozambique since July 15 and are expected to remain there for three months.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday confirmed that 1,495 South African soldiers had been deployed to Mozambique to help in areas ravaged by terrorism attacks.

He confirmed this in a National Assembly report tabled on Tuesday.

“This serves to inform the National Assembly that I have authorised the employment of 1,495 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for a service in fulfilment of an international obligation towards SADC, in order to support the Mozambique to combat the acts of terrorism and violent extremists that affected of Caba Delgado province,” Ramaphosa said.

The soldiers have been in Mozambique since July 15 and are expected to remain there for the next three months. They joined a Rwandan contingent of soldiers that had arrived a few days earlier.

Ramaphosa said this deployment had cost close to a billion rand, with the exact figure placed at R984,368,057.

Mozambique was besieged in March by insurgents allegedly linked to the Islamic State who overran the gas fields town of Palma, killing dozens of people and displacing many.

Residents of Palma in Cabo Delgado province have been living in fear since then.

Speaking in Cape Town at a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) bloc meeting  in June, Ramaphosa said the ongoing conflict had to be addressed.

The summit said it had received a report on the security situation in Cabo Delgado and reaffirmed its solidarity with the government and people of Mozambique and its continued efforts to address terrorism and ensure lasting peace and security in the country, which is also a threat to the Sadc region.

“This follows discussions and decisions taken in the past that include recommendations from the team sent to make an assessment on what type of intervention the SADC needs to make.

“We will receive further reports. We are all convinced we cannot allow a situation where insurgents infiltrate the country and take over an area or region, kill and displace people and we all sit and do not support.”

He said the required support will be given to restore stability in Mozambique.

“The extent of the support is something we will discuss because it is a matter on which we all need to reach agreement.”

Meanwhile, back on South African soil, scores of soldiers continue to provide support to the police who are conducting raids in areas where malls and shopping centres were looted and torched under the guise of the #FreeZuma movement.

This week, troops accompanied the police to hostels and residences around Ekurhuleni where items such as furniture, electrical appliances, food, alcohol and clothing were recovered.

These raids have led to the arrests of more people.

By Naledi Shange -TimesLIVE

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