Security analyst warns Mozambique insurgency a threat to southern Africa region

Marauding militants took control of the coastal town of Palma last week. One South African was killed in the attack while 50 others were accounted for following the attacks.

People wait for their relatives and friends to arrive in Pemba on 1 April 2021, from the boat of evacuees from the coasts of Palma. More than 1,000 people evacuated from the shores of the town of Palma arrived at the sea port of Pemba after insurgents attacked Palma on 24 March 2021. Picture: Alfredo Zuniga/AFP

CAPE TOWN - More than a week after an attack by militants in northern Mozambique, South Africans who were in the region are returning home.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed that it was assisting the country's high commission in Maputo to repatriate citizens wanting to return.

Marauding militants took control of the coastal town of Palma last week.

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One South African was killed in the attack while 50 others were accounted for following the attacks.

Deadly terror attacks in neighbouring Mozambique have shaken the region.

The defence force's Siphiwe Dlamini: "South Africa is concerned about the security situation in Cabo Delgado, in the northern part of Mozambique. We remain seized with the safety of South Africans in that province."

Security analyst, Jasmine Opperman, said that the entire region should be worried.

"On the question of should the region be concerned, they should have been concerned long ago, to be quite frank, but we need to understand that Mozambique is a sovereign state and hence they will not get engaged unless there is some kind of approval by Maputo. Maputo, at this point, favours bilateral engagements."

Opperman said that thousands remained vulnerable.

"What has happened in Mozambique is merely another indication on how sophisticated the insurgents have become, how brazen they have become to move so close to the Afungi site. It is an insurgency that cannot be viewed, and must not be regarded and underplayed, as not only a risk to Mozambique but also the region."

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called a meeting on Tuesday.

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