THE government is extremely proud of the humanitarian work that is being done by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) deployed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, ’Matšepo Molise Ramakoae, has said.
Although some Basotho had opposed the deployment, the LDF deployees had now proven that they were capable of keeping peace like other SADC troops, she said.
The LDF troops were deployed in August to help civilians displaced by terrorists in Cabo Delgado, north of Mozambique. Other SADC countries had in July mobilised and deployed troops and personnel to contain the terrorists after armed militants believed to be affiliated to the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group attacked and seized the coastal town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province in late March.
Thousands of people were consequently displaced.
Ms Ramakoae told the Sunday Express that indications were that SADC intended to extend the mission beyond its end date of January 2022.
“We are proud of the humanitarian work that our troops are doing in Mozambique and this has also pleased our counterparts who are also hoping that the mission will be extended given the impressive work that the troops are doing to help the displaced citizens resettle,” Ms Ramakoae said.
“We have received reports that our troops are doing very well and have won the hearts of the people who had fled from the rebels.”
In a separate interview this week, LDF spokesperson, Captain Sakeng Lekola, said the LDF contingent had been resettling displaced residents and implementing humanitarian work in the Nangade district.
“One of the critical necessities is the provision of clean water for daily consumption, particularly in the Mandimba village and other adjustment settlements.”
The LDF contingent delivers 7000 litres of water twice weekly to the affected areas. The water benefits villagers, the Armed Forces of Mozambique (FADM) and the police.
The villagers fled their settlements on 20 June 2021 following the terror attacks by the terrorist insurgents who destroyed their village.
After an offensive attack on the insurgents and destruction of their base in North Chitama, which left their leader Sheik Dr Njile dead, the villagers were repatriated back by the LDF and the Tanzanian Army on 13 October 2021.
Meanwhile, the LDF command on Tuesday received the remains of Commando Private Moalosi Khoaele, who succumbed to malaria while deployed in Mozambique.
Addressing the media, army commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, said the deceased and a fellow soldier fell ill last week. However, one of the soldiers recovered while Pvt Khoaele died.
“We are heartbroken by his death. Although he did not die on the battle field, he still died in the line of duty.
“He will be laid to rest at the military cemetery at Ha-Ratjomose Barracks and will be given a hero’s send off,” Lt-Gen Letsoela said.