SADC to hold extraordinary summit to address Mozambique insecurity

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Residents in Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique on June 11, 2018. PHOTO | AFP

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold a meeting on Thursday in the Mozambican capital Maputo to discuss ways to tackle the Islamist insurgency bedeviling the southeast African nation.

“SADC is deeply concerned about the continued terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, especially for the lives and welfare of the residents who continue to suffer from the atrocious, brutal and indiscriminate assaults,” the SADC said in a statement released on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Residents in Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique. PHOTO | AFP

The Extraordinary Double Troika Summit will see representatives from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique meet.

“A communique on the key outcomes of the Extraordinary Double Troika Summit will be issued at the end of the deliberations,” the statement concluded.

The meeting comes in the wake of an attack on the key northern town of Palma last month by Islamist militants in the restive Cabo Delgado province.

On March 24, suspected Islamist militants launched a devastating attack killing dozens of people and injuring scores of others, while thousands of others fled the area.

The attack is seen as the biggest escalation of an Islamist insurgency that has plagued the gas-rich province since 2017.

The attack also forced French energy giant Total to suspend its gas operations at a nearby site of an offshore gas project worth billions of dollars not long after it had announced a resumption of work.

However, the military this week said the town is now secure after troops killed a significant number of militants and cleared one final area.

Commander Chongo Vidigal, the officer in charge of an operation to retake the town, added that the gas plant, which Total abandoned on Friday, was secure.

Militants affiliated to the Islamic State group have raided villages and towns across the province, resulting in at least 2,600 deaths and more than 350,000 others being displaced.

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