Rwanda: Cabo Delgado – Mozambican Defence Minister Visits Rwandan Forces

The minister and his entourage were briefed on the current operations by Rwanda security forces in their area of operations in Cabo Delgado.

Mozambique’s new Defence Minister, Maj Gen Cristovão Artur Chume, on Tuesday, December 14, visited Rwandan security forces in Mozambique’s northernmost Province of Cabo Delgado where they were deployed mid this year to help his government’s millitary battle an Islamic State-linked insurgency.

A statement by the Ministry of Defence indicates that Chume was accompanied by other Generals including Maj Gen M Nposso, head of Civil Military Cooperation, and Brig Gen Niba, Head of Intelligence, during the visit in Mocimboa da Praia, a major port city that Rwandan and Mozambican forces liberated on August 8.

In Mocimboa da Praia, Chume was welcomed by Rwanda Security Forces-Joint Task Force Commander, Maj Gen Innocent Kabandana, accompanied by Brig Gen Pascal Muhizi, the Task Force Brigade Commander.

The minister and his entourage were briefed on the current operations by Rwanda security forces in their area of operations in Cabo Delgado.

The purpose of the Minister’s visit, as noted, was to thank Rwandan security forces and other forces in the theatre operations for their contribution to the overall success in the joint operations while he was Army Commander.

“He further pledged continued commitment to enable the RSF (Rwanda Security Forces) to accomplish its mission,” reads part of the statement.

Chume, it is noted, appreciated the work done in Cabo Delgado by Rwandan security forces.

“He stressed that the collaboration between Rwanda Security Forces and Forças Armadas de Defensa de Moçambique (FADM) was excellent.”

On July 9, Rwanda, at the request of Mozambique, deployed 1,000 troops to Cabo Delgado to help fight the terrorists, stabilize the area and restore the authority of the state.

Rwandan troops were sent to work closely with Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and forces from Southern African Development Community (SADC), in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado. SADC leaders on October 5, agreed to extend their military mission – which intervened in Mozambique in July – so as to continue with offensive operations helping the government fight the insurgency.

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

In August 2020, they seized the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia, captured Vamizi Island in the Indian Ocean in September 2020, and seized Palma, on March 24, murdering dozens of civilians and displacing more than 35,000 of the town’s 75,000 residents. Women and children suffered most from the IS-linked terrorists’ savagery.

Barely a month after Rwandan security arrived, however, the insurgents were purged from many of their strongholds as Rwandan and Mozambican forces combined forces to overwhelm the terrorists in the districts of Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, and Mueda.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, on September 25, thanked the people of Rwanda and President Paul Kagame for having quickly understood his country’s need for help and acted accordingly to help thwart a threat posed by terrorists.

Previously inaccessible areas of the province were cleared of insurgents and, by and large, peace and stability has returned in areas where Rwandan and Mozambican forces operate.

On August 28, the joint forces started helping hundreds of people previously displaced by the terrorists to return to their homes.

More than 35, 000 people have returned home and resumed their normal lives in areas like Palma as Rwandan and Mozambican forces remain vigilant and continue to, bit by bit, pick out remnants of the insurgency.

Denying breathing space to the insurgency in Cabo Delgado was crucial in weakening and repulsing them from the areas where Rwandan and Mozambican troops operate.

Cabo Delgado has 16 districts but the ones most affected by the insurgents’ terror activities were Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Mueda, Mocamia, Muidumbe and Nangade.

Early last month, President Nyusi promoted Chume from the head of the army to Minister of Defence.

Chume replaced Jaime Bessa Neto as Defence Minister.

Before then, Chume was in Cabo Delgado serving as Kabandana’s counterpart and joint force commander of FADM.

The two men orchestrated the purging of terrorists from areas where Rwandan and Mozambican forces worked together in the Province.

jkaruhanga@newtimesrwanda.com

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