Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi flagged off a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) contingent to Mozambique as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby force to wage war against terrorism and violent extremism in the restive Cabo Delgado province.
There have been repeated violent attacks in the gas-rich north of Mozambique by Islamic state -terrorists for over four years now which has rendered many people decapitated, hundreds of lives lost, and thousands displaced as they seek safety elsewhere.
The recent violence offset major gas exploration projects and triggered fears it could escalate to neighboring countries, mounting pressure on President Filipe Nyusi to accept foreign troops.
The 16-member SADC agreed late last month to send troops to the province. That military intervention was formalized a week after east African nation Rwanda announced it was starting to deploy 1,000 troops to the area.
Masisi appealed to the BDF to observe the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) which establishes the framework under which SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) personnel will operate in Mozambique.
“I am alive to the fact that you will be facing a deceptive enemy which is likely to use asymmetric warfare, unconventional and underhand warfare tactics against yourselves and the population you will be protecting. As professionals, you stand for much more than they do and must avoid emulating them and sinking to their level,” Masisi said.
Masisi, who acknowledged Botswana was faced with severe economic challenges due to the global health crisis, said the mission will be funded on a cost-sharing basis between the SADC Secretariat and the countries contributing troops.
He added that despite the challenges rocking the economy, his government is determined through the Reset Initiative to reinvigorate the economy and will be sourcing some of the services for the mission locally.