MAPUTO (Reuters) – Southern African countries agreed on Thursday to extend their troop deployment in Mozambique for another month to help it fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency.
The countries, linked in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), agreed last year to send troops to Mozambique.
The mission’s mandate was set to end on Friday but has been extended on an interim basis until an SADC heads of state summit in mid-August, when a more detailed report on the mission’s progress will be considered.
The insurgency is concentrated in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. It has claimed thousands of lives since it broke out in 2017 and disrupted multibillion-dollar natural gas projects.
Closing Thursday’s virtual summit, SADC chairperson and Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said the extension of the troop deployment prevented the mission from being compromised.
Separately, the European Union’s diplomatic mission to Mozambique said the EU would provide the country’s army with an additional 45 million euros ($45 million) of financial support.
Mozambique’s military had been losing ground to the insurgency until it accepted help from SADC and Rwanda, which has also sent soldiers.
($1 = 1.0000 euro)
(Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk and Manuel Mucari in Maputo; Editing by Alexander Winning)