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HomeNewsRwanda, Mozambique armies pursue terrorists in Mozambique’s Nampula Province

Rwanda, Mozambique armies pursue terrorists in Mozambique’s Nampula Province

After dislodging Islamic State-linked terrorists from major towns and villages in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province, Rwandan and Mozambican troops continued to pursue the terrorists southwards into the neighbouring province of Nampula, it emerges.

The cross-provincial pursuit of the terrorists by Rwandan and Mozambican troops comes at a time when troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), or the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), reportedly plan to withdraw from their current areas of responsibility by the end of the year.

The latter’s planned pull-out, analysts noted, implied that Mozambican and Rwandan forces would have to adapt to a new phase of the war on terrorism – without the troops from the southern African bloc – in a new projection in terms of occupying territory, so that the terrorists do not carry out attacks in the areas left by the SADC military or try to occupy territory.

From April 26 to May 3, according to the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), a joint operation of Mozambique’s army and Rwanda security forces was conducted against the terrorists in their hideouts in the dense forest areas of Odinepa, Nasua, Mitaka and Manika, in Eráti District, Nampula Province, and “only a few insurgents managed to escape through Lurio river.”

Brig Gen Ronald Rwivanga, the RDF Spokesperson, on Monday, May 6, told The New Times: “They [terrorists] have been hiding in these forests since they were dislodged by RSF [Rwanda security forces] and Mozambique forces from Catupa forest [in Cabo Delgado Province’s Mocamia District] last year. They keep moving southwards as they get dislodged.”

“The insurgents operate in small groups in these forest areas. They also hide in small islands along the Lurio river. The registered terrorists’ causalities were several dozens. Large stocks of arms were left behind but some casualties were carried by the fleeing insurgents across the river in Nampula Province.”

Last December, Maj. Gen. Tiago Alberto Nampele, the Army Commander of the Mozambican Armed Defence Forces (FADM), said the RSF, FADM and SAMIM had prevented the terrorists from accessing food and had jointly elaborated a plan to pursue the retreating terrorists.

Nampele said: “They do not concentrate themselves in bases. There is no such [thing as a base]. It’s just small camps, very, very small, whereby when they notice our forces, the first thing they do is spread themselves in very small groups of two or three. They are in small groups where they are flexible and they can move from one place to another.”

At Maputo’s request, Kigali deployed troops in July 2021 to help fight Islamist terrorists who had, for several years, destabilised Cabo Delgado, a region located on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

Barely two weeks after deployment, Rwandan and Mozambican forces were circling major bases of the terrorists, capturing them.

By end last year, more than 250,000 people earlier displaced by Islamic State-linked terrorists in the most affected parts of Cabo Delgado had returned to their homes and, sea and air ports were re-opened, thanks to joint operations by Rwandan and Mozambican armies.

President Paul Kagame and his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi on January 25 held talks, in Kigali, centred around ways to further strengthen the existing productive bilateral cooperation in various areas of mutual interest.

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