The Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) mandate authorizing military intervention in Mozambique will expire today.
Mozambique’s government has battled Islamic insurgents in the northern Cabo Delgado Province since 2017. The Islamic State-affiliated Ansar al-Sunna has repeatedly attacked civilians and military forces, temporarily capturing Cabo Delgado’s capital, Mocimboa da Praia, in August 2020.
The Mozambiquan government’s inability to defeat Ansar al-Sunna saw the deployment of a SADC intervention force in July comprising soldiers from South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, and Lesotho. Initially deployed for three months, the mission’s mandate was extended for three months. Although the coalition has been successful–recapturing Mocimboa da Praia in August–their efforts have come at a cost, with South Africa losing its first soldier in Mozambique in December.
Expect SADC to extend the intervention forces’ mandate for another six months through July 2022. While this will certainly help Mozambique hold its gains over insurgents, it is unclear whether SADC will meaningfully increase the size of its military presence. SADC will likely call for more troops and equipment, although most members never deployed the full forces they originally pledged and are unlikely to ramp up further out of fear of getting bogged down in conflict in Mozambique.
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Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.