There is mounting pressure on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene in Mozambique amid the deadly jihadist attacks.
Mozambique Palma Unrest
Dozens of people are believed to have been killed in a siege last week in the port city of Palma.
South African Adrian Nel is among the casualties.
The 40-year-old man from Durban had been working in the city at the time of the attack.
Several other South Africans are reportedly still stuck in the city, fearing the worst.
University of Johannesburg (UJ) international law professor Hennie Strydom has slammed SADC for its "inaction".
"This is a sub-regional issue, a security issue affecting several countries bordering Mozambique and one would expect that SADC would make this a priority," says Strydom.
"Instead, there seems to be very little effective intervention to deal with the issue, including from the Mozambican government."
He warns the issue may spill over to neighbouring countries.
"If it’s not solved soon, we will sit with a sub-regional issue that may affect several countries, especially once we see large numbers of refugees fleeing the situation in Mozambique and crossing over into other SADC countries.
"The protection of civilians at this point in time is a Mozambican responsibility because the violence is taking place on their soil but of course, for a country like South Africa where their citizens are being affected by the violence, obviously they have an interest on what is going on there."
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says a 24-hour operation centre has been set up to establish how many South Africans are affected by the attacks.
But Strydom says the responsibility to assist in easing tensions cannot fall solely on the shoulders of the South African government.
"They [South African National Defence Force] can only assist in that situation once invited by the Mozambican government and if that happened, their involvement will be by arrangement and cooperation between the Mozambican government and the South African government.
"I think probably a better solution would be to involve a combined effort by the SADC countries and the SADC region with the cooperation of the Mozambican government, but I don’t see any plans that are afoot in this point in time to deal with the issue via that option," says Strydom.
"It says a lot about the seriousness that SADC countries view this issue."
He adds the African continent as a whole has generally failed to deal with conflict situations, calling on SADC and the African Union to strengthen its protocols.