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Army deployed to Mozambique to repatriate South Africans


President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed soldiers in Mozambique in a mission to rescue South Africans.

Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the police and SANDF troops at 35 Squadron before they initiated several joint lockdown operations and roadblocks to enforce movement restrictions aimed at slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg – South Africa has deployed soldiers in Mozambique in a mission to rescue South Africans.

This comes after the AU also called for action against the violence in Palma, following the attacks by insurgents.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said yesterday troops were sent to the Cabo Delgado region, Mozambique, in a mission to rescue the country’s citizens amid violent attacks launched by the Islamic State.

Ramaphosa said the SANDF and other stakeholders are attending the matter on an ongoing basis.

“We are briefed and we have already attended to the issue to evacuate those citizens who are stranded in Mozambique. Already the South African citizen who died and others had been brought by the SANDF. We remain involved with securing the safety of our people in Palma. SANDF is working very hard to bringing South African citizens back home,” said Ramaphosa.

Adrian Nel was killed in the unrest in the coastal town of Palma last week. His body, his father and brother and others were repatriated back to South Africa this week.

It is still unclear how many more South Africans are trapped in Mozambique.

The AU condemned the attacks on Palma.

In a statement, AU chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he condemns in the strongest term the terrorist attacks and expressed concern at the presence of international extremist groups in Southern Africa, calling for urgent co-ordinated regional and international action.

“The AU Commission through its relevant organs, stands ready to support the region and its mechanisms to jointly address this urgent threat to regional and continental peace and security,” said Mahamat.

The Southern African Development Community held emergency talks in Zimbabwean capital Harare, to discuss the violence.

Portugal also sent troops to Cabo Delgado province.

The AU has also called for urgent and co-ordinated international action after the attacks that left dozens dead and others stranded and forced to flee the coastal town of Palma.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa recently informed Parliament that he had extended the employment of 200 SANDF personnel for service in fulfilling an international obligation of the country towards the SADC.

This is in relation to guarding the Mozambique channel against piracy.

“The 200 members of SANDF were employed to deter and prevent piracy in the Mozambique Channel. Maritime piracy remains a threat to all countries sharing borders with Western Indian Ocean,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that the extension of employment is for the period of April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

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