The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday urged the South African government to urgently engage the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regarding the increasing Islamic State (ISIS) threat in northern Mozambique.
This came after ISIS, in the form of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah or Al-Shabaab, warned South Africa not to get involved in the current conflict in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
South Africa cannot afford to ignore this threat from ISIS or take its warning lightly, the DA said in a statement.
“As a member of both SADC and the African Union (AU) we have an obligation to safeguard the stability of our country and our neighbors,” DA Shadow Minister of Defence Kobus Marais said.
To ensure that the threat ISIS poses to South Africa, Mozambique and the rest of SADC, be dealt with in a decisive manner, it is time that all SADC nations come together to strategize and collectively find solutions to the problem, Marais said.
He suggested that the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), which is part of an established SADC Force in collaboration with the AU, should be deployed against the ISIS terrorists in northern Mozambique with the consent of the AU and the United Nations.
Marais urged Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to reprioritize the SANDF troops currently deployed in South African streets to rather act on its normal mandate and safeguard South African borders and regain regional stability.
“The minister needs to also play open cards with South Africans and be honest about the threat facing our neighboring nation,” said Marais.
Mozambique is a popular holiday destination, and many South Africans have friends or family living and working in Mozambique.
With the duel threat of ISIS and COVID-19 plaguing the country, transparency from the minister will go a long way in alleviating the extra worry the situation might cause South Africans, said Marais.
“South Africa is not an island. We are part of the great African family and must support Mozambique,” he said.
The security situation in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province has rapidly deteriorated recently following attacks by Al-Shabaab militants on civilians. The extremist group has been attempting to set up madrassas, or Islamic religious schools, that preach an extreme form of Islam in the province. Enditem