GABORONE, BOTSWANA — Botswana is developing a national security strategy amid fears of heightened terrorism threats.
The country’s minister of defense, Kagiso Mmusi, addressed parliament Thursday.
“The emerging global security challenges, such as cybercrime, terrorism, poaching, human trafficking, distribution of drugs, money laundering and transnational organized crimes, continue to threaten Botswana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Irregular migration also poses a threat to multilateralism,” Mmusi said.
To this end, he said, a strategy to counter possible acts of terrorism and other national security threats is being developed.
“In an effort to address the above-mentioned global challenges, the country is developing the national security strategy. Botswana will ensure the permanent inviolability of national territory and its effective control by employing all available instruments of national power,” Mmusi said.
In June, Botswana’s army commander, Placid Segogo, told lawmakers the country needed to scale up efforts to counter terrorism, as the deployment of 300 troops to Mozambique had created challenges.
Botswana’s troops in Mozambique are part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force’s more than 1,000 soldiers in Cabo Delgado.
“As the defense force, we continue to have challenges in respect to cybercrime terrorism because we are now clearly in Mozambique specifically because of terrorism. We do realize that our footprint there creates an even bigger vulnerability,” Segogo said.
This week, Botswana’s Vice President Slumber Tsogwane told new army recruits to be ready for deployment in Mozambique if called upon.
“Today, you graduate to take your place in the Botswana Defense Force at a time when [the] SADC region is fighting a war against terrorists in the Republic of Mozambique,” Tsogwane said. “You need to acquaint yourselves with the tactics, techniques and procedures as well as process in leading your men in tactical situations quickly, for you may be required to be deployed there or elsewhere.”
Since sending troops in July 2021, Botswana has lost five soldiers in Mozambique, including one during combat. Two died during freak accidents at their respective camps in Cabo Delgado, and the other two died in a murder-suicide incident.