On Wednesday, June 24, 2021, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved the deployment of a Standby Force in support of Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado.
The standby force is part of a regional defence pact that allows military intervention to prevent the spread of conflict.
Attacks by an armed group known locally as al-Shabab, have steadily increased in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since October 2017. Almost 3,000 people have been killed and over 800,000 – half of whom are children – have been forced from their homes since the conflict began.
The ISIL-linked fighters have ransacked towns and gained control of key roadways, destroying infrastructure and beheading civilians. In some cases, they have forced locals into their ranks or held them as sex slaves.
The communique which was reached at the end of a one-day summit in Maputo by the 16-member bloc provided no details on how many troops would be involved, when they would be deployed or what their role would be.