The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has beefed up its commitment to Mozambique by sending a 2,000-strong military contingent to the insurgency-ridden northern Cabo Delgado province-
The Rwandan media outlet, The New Times, reported on Monday, 31 August, that the 2,000 troops will relieve their battle tested countrymen, who had already done their part in helping push back the insurgency in Cabo Delgado.
The deployment of Rwandan boots to Cabo Delgado to fight the insurgency is fruit of an agreement in 2021 between Mozambican and Rwandan presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Paul Kagame, respectively.
Security analysts point out that Maputo had sought help to quell the raging insurgency in Cabo Delgado within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. However, Maputo felt humiliated by the constant insistence that it should provide a counter-insurgency plan of action and not what SADC said was a shopping list of needs.
That was when Nyusi elicited military support from Kigali, which was swift to arrive with Rwanda sending initial 1,000-strong military and police personnel in 2021. The entry of the Rwandans in the theatre of operations was a game-changer: it helped push back the insurgency from Palma and surroundings, as well as the recovery of Mocímboa da Praia, and the chasing of the insurgents to the then unreachable bases of Siri I and Siri II in the dense forests along the Messalo riverbanks.
Meanwhile, SADC’s hand was forced, and it eventually deployed its SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). Criticism has been levelled against SAMIM, which is accused of having taken a static position with little or no engagement in operations despite possessing heavy military hardware and soldiers. Analysts say that no effective action was taken by SAMIM in almost two years, even when the European Union proposed to financially bankroll the operations as it does Rwanda.
Recently, the SADC Troika decided to pull out the troops from Cabo Delgado by July 2024. With Kigali deploying 2,000 troops, albeit to refresh its contingent in Mozambique, seemingly Nyusi has decided that the way to defeating the insurgency goes via Kigali – it helps that the two presidents seem to be close friends as Nyusi has become a frequent visitor to Kigali.
The bromance has raised some eyebrows in Mozambique where there are fears that Nyusi may learn from Kagame the secret to hanging on to power in the lead up to the battle to succeed the former from the Mozambican presidency.
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