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SADC mission in Mozambique launched

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique was formally launched on 9 August, revealing that Tanzania has sent a contingent of troops.

South Africa special forces in Pemba on 5 August. (Alfredo Zuniga/AFP via Getty Images)

South Africa special forces in Pemba on 5 August. (Alfredo Zuniga/AFP via Getty Images)

Tanzania shares a border with Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province where the mission will help suppress Islamist militants, but is not a member of the SADC regional group.

Small detachments from the contributing countries, including Tanzania, participated in the launch ceremony held in Pemba and attended by the presidents of Mozambique and Botswana.

Mozambique TV reported that Tanzania is providing 274 soldiers, South Africa 270, Botswana 108, Lesotho 70, and Angola 16 with small numbers of experts coming from other SADC members.

These figures did not match those from other sources. The South African government has informed parliament that it intends to deploy 1,495 personnel to Mozambique. South African Casspir armoured vehicles have been seen crossing the border into the country, indicating this will include a motorised infantry battalion as well as the special forces contingent seen in Pemba. The South African Navy's Warrior-class patrol ship SAS Makhanda has also been seen at Pemba.

Botswana is reportedly providing 296 troops. Some of the Botswana Defence Force's new Piranha 5 infantry fighting vehicles have been seen in Mozambique.

Zimbabwe will provide 303 soldiers but only for training Mozambican forces, according to its defence minister.

Angola has announced it will provide an Il-76 transport aircraft, 20 personnel for the regional co-operation mechanism, and eight for the mission's command.

Lesotho's government reported on 9 August that an advanced team of 12 soldiers had left for Mozambique and will be followed by another 113 who will be airlifted by Angola.

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