Tanzania pledges to standby Mozambique in the fight against terrorism

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday, November 15, said that Tanzania was not ready to see Mozambique’s sovereignty compromised.

She made the remark when explaining why Tanzania swiftly dispatched troops after an insurgency broke out in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province.

Formally opening the Commanders Annual Meeting of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) at TPDF headquarters in Dar es Salaam, President Hassan said Tanzania was always ready to help other African nations whose independence Tanzania helped to secure.

Noting that the world was facing terrorism as a security challenge, she pledged to continue investing in modernizing the army in order to increase its efficiency in securing the country’s borders and independence.

The Head of State added that Tanzania had sent troops to Mozambique to help defend its common border with the southern African nation, as well as through the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

“We are obliged to defend the country’s independence because, by Tanzanians shedding sweat and blood, Mozambique was liberated. Not only Mozambique but most countries in the South of Africa as well,” she said.

President Hassan – who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces – said the insurgency by a terrorist group in northern Mozambique’s province of Cabo Degrado poses security threats for Tanzania as well.

According to her, the insurgents have in the past launched attacks on some villages in Mtwara Region, killing and wounding some Tanzanians, and causing destruction of property.

In the event, the government dispatched a special group of security personnel to bolster defense and security at the border, in collaboration with the Sadc militia that was already in place.

“The government will provide every assistance to enable the army to efficiently implement its responsibilities to defend the country’s borders and our independence against threats from inside and outside the country,” she said.

The Head of State said the focus was to defend and protect the United Republic of Tanzania’s independence as well as its components of justice, human rights, brotherhood, solidarity, national unity, and democracy.

She said despite the higher costs of strengthening the country’s security, any nation that has recorded economic achievement would strengthen its military capacity.

“The world is now facing terrorism as a new security challenge that will victimize anybody despite the difference of tribe, race, religion, age, ideology, earnings, and nationality,” said President Hassan, requesting the topic to be discussed.

She said the war against terrorism should not be fought by the army alone – noting, however, that other security organs, as well as the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should be involved in providing education to citizens. According to her, being the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, she is responsible for mobilizing financial resources, equipment, and cooperation opportunities that would build the capacity for fighting terrorism, piracy, cross-border crime, etc.

“Being the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, I have started the supervision. I will do it properly to strengthen the execution of their duties in a professional manner,” she said, promising further modernization of the army.

She thanked former presidents Jakaya Kikwete and the late John Magufuli for massive investments in the army through the provision of equipment and training during their time in office.

The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo, said President Hassan’s decision has consolidated the country’s position that was secured during the liberation struggles of African countries.

“Under the UN, Tanzania is also involved in peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), and Lebanon,” he said.

For her part, the Defence and National Service Minister, Dr. Stergomena Tax, assured military commanders that challenges facing the military have been notified to the President Hassan government for solutions.

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