16th November 2021


Chair’s welcome and opening remarks

Kevin Ritchie, Analyst & Writer, Kevin Ritchie & Associates


An overview of the current situation in Cabo Delgado

  • Who, what, how, why and where is Ansar al-Sunna? Understanding the reasons behind the formation of the group, where they are active, what they are doing and what their objectives are
  • What is the risk of transnational militants, including Islamic State, exerting their influence over Ansar al-Sunna?
  • What are the potential implications for Mozambique and the southern African region if there is not an adequate response to the insurgency?

Liesl Louw-Vaudran, Senior Researcher and Project Leader, Southern Africa, Institute for Security Studies


Examining the military response to the insurgency to date

  • What military response has there been so far? Understanding the roles of the main players in the counter-insurgency – SADC, Mozambican and Rwandan armed forces, private military contractors, the European Union and the United States
  • Why was Mozambique initially reluctant to bring in outside help? Has the deployment of external stakeholders changed the Mozambican Government’s stance on outside assistance?
  • What further assistance does Mozambique need to ensure that the counter-insurgency is successful – military hardware, training, ongoing presence of external troops, etc.?
  • Is opening a dialogue with the militants with a view to negotiating an end to the insurgency an option?
  • What is the end goal? What does ‘victory’ look like?


Panel discussion: What is the role of external forces in the counter-insurgency?

  • How is the SADC response being organized and funded?
  • What are the legal bases for the respective military deployments under international law/SADC treaty law?
  • Does self-defence play any role on the Mozambican side, given many regional leaders have relied on the Mutual Defence Pact as a basis for the SADC military deployment?
  • What is the interplay between the Rwandan and SADC military deployments under the existing SADC security framework? Is it unlawful or is there provision for it?
  • How are the different forces working together on the ground?
  • What is each force’s primary role – Offensive? Defensive? Peacekeeping? Training?
  • Is the military operation primarily to secure the region or to secure the local oil and gas industry?
  • Will their presence lead to stability in Cabo Delgado and in the southern African region in general?
  • For how long will external troops need to remain in northern Mozambique? How sustainable is their presence?

Johann Smith, Director, Heracles Consulting

Professor Francois Vreÿ, Research Coordinator, Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA) Stellenbosch University

Jasmine Opperman, Independent Terrorism Expert and Security Analyst, 14 North Strategies

Dr Marko Svicevic, Researcher, Centre for International Humanitarian and Operational Law, Faculty of Law, Palacký University, Czech Republic




Panel discussion: South Africa’s response to the insurgency

  • Understanding the need for South Africa to intervene in Mozambique and its contribution to the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM)
  • What is the scope of South Africa’s involvement in Mozambique?
  • Examining progress to date and desired outcomes


Kevin Ritchie, Owner, Kevin Ritchie & Associates


Kobus Marais, Shadow Minister for Defence and Military Veterans, Democratic Alliance

John Stupart, Director, African Defence Review

Thomas Mandrup, Associate Professor, Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA), Stellenbosch University




Panel discussion: What is the role of the private security sector and defence industry in the counter-insurgency? 

  • What role has private security played in protecting Cabo Delgado? What has been the result of private military contractors supporting Mozambique’s military to date?
  • With the deployment of the SADC and Rwandan forces, is there still a role for private military contractors to play in the counter-insurgency?
  • What is the role of the defence industry in helping quell the insurgency? How can the defence industry supply equipment and training to bolster the Mozambican military?


Borges Nhamirre, Research Consultant, Institute for Security Studies


Lionel Dyck, Head, Dyck Advisory Group

Joe Van Der Walt, CEO, Focus Group & Rhula Intelligent Solutions

Cobus van der Merwe, Chief Business Establishment, Global Command & Control Technologies


Managing the commercial risks: What is the perspective of the business sector in the region on the insurgency and the subsequent response?

  • How do the oil and gas companies operating in the area view the current situation and the way forward?
  • How do oil and gas companies factor in these risks to their overall risk management strategy?
  • How confident are these companies that peace and stability can be achieved? What is required in order for them to start operating again?
  • Are there wider issues of maritime security and piracy which need to be addressed in order to re-establish the confidence of these companies?

Anton Mifsud-Bonnici, Member of the Advisory Board, Marlow Strategy


Comfort break


Panel discussion: Resolving the humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado

  • How many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are there in the area and are these numbers increasing or decreasing?
  • What is their view on the current insurgency and what needs to be done to resolve the situation?
  • What options are available for providing security to IDPs to encourage them to return to the areas they vacated?
  • What is the Mozambican Government doing to improve socio-economic conditions and reconcile the grievances of the militants and local communities?
  • How can all stakeholders – Government, military, investors, NGOs, relief organisations – work together to improve the situation for IDPs and local communities?

Moderator: Zenaida Machado, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch


Professor Adriano Nuvunga, Director, Center for Democracy and Development (CDD)

Dino Mahtani, African Programme Deputy Director, International Crisis Group


Closing remarks and conference wrap up

Kevin Ritchie, Owner, Kevin Ritchie & Associates