SADC troops for Mozambique? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

President Masisi of Botswana, Chair of SADC’s security troika, indicated after talks in Harare with previous Chair President Mnangagwa that SADC was likely to take military action ‘to ensure the integrity and sovereignty of one of our own now being assailed by dissidents’.

He said he had already had talks with the third member of the troika President Ramaphosa of South Africa (see:

A four-year insurgency by Islamist militants has seen many people killed and some 650,000 displaced. The Mozambican government has had to call on private military contractors from South Africa and Russia for help, but the Russians withdrew after heavy losses.

In the latest fighting, Islamic State militants seized the town of Palma threatening a nearby US$20 billion French Total company exploiting natural gas reserves. The South African mercenaries used helicopters to rescue some people from the town, one of them a man desperately disguised as a woman, but Total refused to supply fuel when the helicopters ran low.

The UK redeployed some of its soldiers from Kenya to help the rescue but expatriates were among the hundred or so people killed, casting doubt over the future of the regional oil development – at US$60 billion the biggest in Africa (see:

Martin Ewi of the Institute for Strategic Studies in South Africa has urged South Africa to send in troops to end what he called ‘the reign of terror’ by Islamic State jihadists who wanted to establish Sharia Law not only in Cabo Delgado but all over Mozambique.

He said there was a possibility of attacks spreading to neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe adding that there were already active Islamic State cells in South Africa. ‘We need a regional response in order to make sure that even if we eliminate the Islamic State in Mozambique, it will not pop up somewhere else – which is most likely if we deal with this purely as a Mozambican problem,’ Ewi said (See:

A correspondent for the UK Times, Jane Flanagan, has filed a graphic report for the paper headlined ‘Expats in Mozambique faced a ring of murderous jihadists. It was do or die.’

Flanagan says a Zimbabwean construction firm boss, Brendon Bekker, went to Palma in a supply vessel. One of his colleagues was shot dead when militants fired from the shore. ‘There were people all over the different beaches,’ he said. ‘Everyone fearing for their lives and thinking they weren’t going to make it out.’ (See:

Other Points:

  • More than 40 years after Zanu PF came to power following the liberation struggle, President Mnangagwa has urged the ever-growing number of ‘was veterans’ to put aside their walking sticks and rally behind the party in the 2023 elections. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says: ‘we hope the President’s call for war veterans to mobilise and campaign for Zanu PF does not translate into reactivation of the ruling party’s violence machinery.’ (See:
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site.


  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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