Kagame sheds light on duration of Rwandan troops’ deployment to Mozambique

On 23 November 2021 at 07:50

President Paul Kagame has said that discussions are ongoing to determine how long the mission of Rwandan troops deployed to fight insurgents in Mozambique will last and circumstances under which they will leave the country.

He was speaking during an interview with AlJazeera journalist, Ali al-Dhafiri who him to shed light on the duration of Rwanda’s troops to the country.

The President explained that Rwandans intervened because Mozambique sought support from Africans and friends of Africa to solve its problems.

“We responded the way we could, have worked with the Mozambicans to address the problems. [...] I think, much success has been achieved. Again, it is between us and Mozambicans and whoever else they asked to help to decide their way forward. This will be dictated by the conditions of ground and the work that has to be done in view of that,” Kagame said.

When asked if Rwandan troops will stay forever, the President a lot has to depend on circumstances on ground and feelings of Mozambicans who asked for help.

“We are capable of discussing and seeing what issues on ground to address, how and what time does it take. But you don’t just give a date to some of these things. Even when we were going, we were not assuming to resolve this problem in one week or month and we are gone. It doesn’t happen that way,” he said.

“There is a lot of discussion that goes on in knowing what to do next. That is not a big problem,” added Kagame.

Rwanda started the deployment of 1000 troops of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Mozambique on 9th July 2021, to fight rebel groups linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The group sometimes calls themselves al-Shabaab, although they do not have known links with the Somali al-Shabaab.

The situation started worsening in October 2017 when armed extremists linked ISIL launched an insurgency in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique.

Since then, Mozambique Defence Armed Forces have been battling the extremists while many civilians were displaced by the fighting.

The joint operations between Rwandan and Mozambican troops have started yielding big where different regions including Palma, Awasse, Mocímboa Da Praia, Quionga, Tete, Maputo, Nhica Do Rovuma, Quelimane, Chinda and Mumu were seized from rebels.

As at 5th September 2021, Rwandan and Mozambican troops who were joined by the military mission of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had captured almost all areas of Cabo Delgado Province where the remaining work was predominantly about launching offensives to quell enemy pockets from their hideouts and help displaced citizens to return to their homes.

Rwanda initially sent 1000 troops to Cabo Delgado honoring the request of Mozambique to support efforts to quell terrorist groups.

The troops have increased to nearly 2000.

Approximately 3100 troops from different African countries are present in Mozambique to help the country quell insurgency in Cabo Delgado Province.

President Kagame and his counterpart of Mozambique during a recent visit to Rwandan troops deployed to fight insurgency.