Rwanda to deploy troops in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

Rwandan soldiers army military

Rwandan soldiers at a past military exercise.

Photo credit: File | Cyril Ndegeya | Nation Media Group

Rwanda has announced that it will deploy 1,000 soldiers to Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique to help the southern African country tackle terrorism.

A statement issued by Kigali Friday said the move followed a request from Mozambique, which has been fighting growing insurgency in its northern region for years.

The troops from the Rwanda Defence Force and the Rwanda National Police will also help restore state authority in the troubled province, the government said.

Thousands have been killed and others displaced due to insecurity in the gas-rich region since 2017 after terror attacks linked to Islamic militants who go by the name al-Shabaab, although they have no known links to the Somalia-based terror group by the same name.

The deployment, which is under a bilateral arrangement, follows a visit by  Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi to Rwanda in April this year. 

“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)," the government statement released on Friday says. 

Rwandan troops will join forces with others to be deployed from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc, which agreed in June to send an unspecified size of forces under an ‘intervention brigade’ to combat terrorism.

Last month, Southern African countries approved a $12 million budget for the deployment of troops to northern Mozambique.

“The sources of financing for this force are made up of a contingency fund and contributions from member states”, Angola foreign affairs minister Téte António said, though he did not disclose how many soldiers each member state will contribute for the mission.

In addition to the troops from Africa, the US and Portugal have sent smaller contingents to the country. Their focus will be training Mozambican forces on how to fight insurgents.