Rwanda Sends Troops To Fight Armed Extremists In Mozambique

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has quite a reputation for getting things done – on Friday he announced he was sending troops to deal with the insurgents that are causing mayhem in Mozambique.

Beginning in October 2017, armed extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched an insurgency in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique.

“The government of Rwanda, at the request of the government of Mozambique, will today start the deployment of a 1 000-person contingent of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Cabo Delgado Province,” said a statement released by the Rwanda government Friday.

“The Joint Force will work closely with Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in designated sectors of responsibility.”

The militants have launched attacks, and in August 2020 seized the port town of Mocimboa da Praia.

More than 50 people were beheaded by terrorists in the province in April 2020 and a similar number in November.

Mozambique Defence Armed Forces have been battling the extremists. Many civilians have been displaced by the fighting.

“The Rwandan contingent will support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform (SSR),” said the statement.

The Rwanda government said the deployment was based on the good bilateral relations between the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Mozambique.

Several agreements have been signed between the two countries.

“Rwanda’s commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine and the 2015 Principles on the Protection of Civilians,” said the statement.

There have been reports that Mozambique was not keen on bringing in foreign African troops and had instead asked for help from Europe.

In September last year, Reuters reported that Mozambique had asked the European Union for support in tackling a wave of militant attacks.

Rebels with links to Islamic State were behind the brutal attacks in the north of the country.

The conflict has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.