Several subdivisions of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) could soon be deployed in and around northern Mozambique as soon as Mozambique asks for it, the Minister of International Relations, Dr. Naledi Pandor, said in parliament.
Pandor said the situation in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province was very complicated, especially as more and more sophisticated weapons were used by the insurgency rebels, who have ties to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.
Cabo Delgado has the world’s richest deposits of rubies and the third largest natural gas field. According to Pandor, the latter can transform Mozambique into a middle-income country provided it is well managed.
The current attacks by fundamentalist Muslim groups mean more than 10% of Cabo Delgado’s residents have now been driven out of their kraals, where everything has been stolen and destroyed.
The attacks are currently aimed at the local population and the government; not against Westerners. Western investments are secured by private security companies, including South African private security companies.
A worrying recent escalation of the conflict was the takeover of the port city of Mocimboa da Praia by the invaders.
Pandor said South Africa would assist Mozambique and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had already asked the Mozambican government what help the country needed.
According to Pandor, the consequences of the situation for South Africa could include that refugees from Mozambique could flow here, and that South Africa’s access to the natural gas field could be hindered.