Rwandan and Mozambican army bosses meet ahead of SADC meeting on insurgency

Mozambican soldiers (right) and Rwanda policemen in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique.
Mozambican soldiers (right) and Rwanda policemen in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique.
  • Rwandan and Mozambican military commanders met in Kigali ahead of the SADC defence summit due in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
  • Both Rwanda and SADC have separately reviewed their operations in Cabo Delgado.
  • The Cabo Delgado Governor says basic services and normal life are slowly returning.

Rwanda is set to upscale involvement in fighting insurgents in Mozambique while the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold an extraordinary summit tomorrow to review the regional bloc's offensive there. 

Earlier on Monday, the Chiefs of Staff of the Rwanda Defence Force, General Bosco Kazura, and the Chief of General Staff of the Mozambican Armed Forces, Admiral Joaquim Mangrasse met in Kigali.

They signed an agreement to expand the cooperation between their armed forces in Cabo Delgado.

"The Army Chief of Staff of Mozambique Defence Forces said the main issue discussed was how to strengthen the cooperation between the two nations' security forces as well as to review joint operations against insurgents in Cabo Delgado. This includes adopting new strategies to deal with challenges met in the last six months," said Rwanda's Ministry Of Defence (MOD) in a statement.

READ | Is this the man behind the Mozambique insurgency?

The MOD noted that, "Rwandan security forces and Mozambican security organs registered success in the shortest possible time in stopping and neutralising the Ansar Al-Sunnah terrorists."

SADC was meant to hold a series of meetings that would have culminated in an Extraordinary Troika Summit on Friday last week.

However, it was rescheduled for Tuesday and instead of being a virtual summit, it will be held in Malawi, Lilongwe.

A military convoy of South Africa National Defence
SANDF troops ride along a dirt road in the Maringanha district in Pemba, Mozambique.

In a statement, like Rwanda, SADC said it will review its mission in Mozambique.

Speaking to journalists in Pemba, a district in Cabo Delgado, Cabo Delgado Governor Valige Tauabo said Rwandan forces, as well as the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM)'s operation, have seen a slow but positive return back to normal life in the province.

READ | Displaced people survive by eating grass amid discrimination in Mozambique

"Our forces and their counterparts, from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and Rwanda, are working hard to establish peace in those districts and this hard work has allowed us to start installing basic services," he said.

Rwanda, a non-SADC member, first deployed its troops in the terror-stricken oil-rich Cabo Delgado province in June last year ahead of SADC.

There's been some disgruntlement regarding Rwanda's approach because, in accordance with the SADC Treaty, the SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi in December last year put on record that Rwanda, "neither asked for nor received" anything in return for its military assistance. 

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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