Nearly 2000 Rwandan troops fighting insurgency in Mozambique

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 12 October 2021 at 04:26

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda has close to 2000 joint troops of Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) supporting the Government of Mozambique to fight against terrorist groups in Cabo Delgado Province.

Kagame made the revelation today as he virtually attended the Global Security Forum 2021 held in Doha, the capital Qatar.

The Global Security Forum is an annual international gathering hosted by The Soufan Center. For several years it has brought together an international network of senior officials and experts, and consistently included ministers, heads of security agencies, and prominent experts, academics, and journalists, and thousands of attendees. This invitation-only event provides a unique dynamic platform for international stakeholders to convene and address the international community’s leading security challenges.

During a conversation with Steve Clemons, a journalist working with The Hill, United States based media house, Kagame responded to different questions concerning areas to be given priority.

Kagame pointed out health and security as priorities noting that no country can address related challenges on its own whether in Africa, Europe, Middle East or anywhere.

Kagame explained that insecurity is caused by shortfalls in governance which sometimes take dangerous forms such as terrorism, or even Genocide as it was the case in Rwanda. The President said that the issue crosses borders, affects neighbors and the entire regions.

Despite many lessons to learn from past failures, Kagame said, the global toolbox for dealing with these threats has hardly evolved.

He pointed out an example of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where a peacekeeping mission has operated for twenty years with meager results. He also hinted on what happened in Afghanistan with 20-year commitment from the international community.

“The efforts in the Sahel region to contain armed groups have also not yet managed to transform the security landscape. The point is not to cast blame. But at a minimum, we can say that something is very wrong in terms of how cross-border security threats are dealt with,” he said.

Kagame emphasized that failure to find a long-lasting solution is not from lack of engagement or lack of money observing that no amount of external funding or troop commitment can create sustainable peace, without putting governance at the center of it all.

Because of our country’s history, the President said, Rwanda is committed to contributing to peace building operations and making a difference where we can.

“We have done so multilaterally, through the United Nations or the African Union, such as in the Central African Republic or in Sudan and South Sudan. In fact, Rwanda has been among the top five UN troop-contributing countries for several years now,” he said.

Kagame also talk about Rwanda’s response to a bilateral appeal from the Government of Mozambique to combat the radical insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

The President said that Rwanda initially sent 1000 joint forces of the RNP and RDF, a number that has increased to approximately 2000.

“The Government of Mozambique invited us and many others like they invited the SADC countries. That is the southern region and neighbors of Mozambique to come and help. Rwanda went there on the ground that this was bilateral and an invitation from a friendly country that wanted such a help urgently. So, we did respond. In fact, we deployed more than 1000 troops. We have close to 2000, military troops and police as well,” he revealed.

Kagame said that the intervention was done quickly to deploy troops where the problem has been addressed to a great extent.

“And it is Rwanda, the Government of Rwanda working with Mozambique, the two of us found resources to deploy to support these operations. We didn’t get any financing from outside,” he noted.

Considering achieved progress, Kagame stressed that bilateral relations between two countries committed to deal with problems in Africa should be done faster and more effectively.

“If we had for example to wait until plans are put in place, mobilization is done , then using the usual format that is used, we probably would still be waiting by now and not sure when we get started,” he said.

Kagame revealed that both countries are working together to identify the root cause of the problem and what needs to be fixed.

This will be done through capacitating the country in many ways to deal with own problems.

Kagame said that Rwandan troops should not be on the ground forever but rather should be working with the country to deal with the problem for as long as the support is necessary leading to making the country stand on its own.

Rwanda sent the first contingent of joint troops to Mozambique on 9th July 2021.

The 2021 Global Security Forum will take place from October 12-14, 2021, in Doha, Qatar and adopt a hybrid approach for virtual participants. As states vie for power and resources in a rapidly evolving geopolitical climate, the 2021 Global Security Forum is held under the theme ‘Cooperation or Competition? Changing Dynamics of Global Security.’ Conversations will focus on the imperative of balancing cooperation and competition in ensuring security and addressing critical challenges in governance and development.

Kagame commends Rwandan, Mozambican troops for liberating Cabo Delgado

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