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 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 yielded big where different regions of Cabo Delgado Province including Palma, Awasse, Mocímboa Da Praia, Quionga, Tete, Maputo, Nhica Do Rovuma, Quelimane, Chinda and Mumu among others have been 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.
Towards the end of 2021, Rwandan troops deployed to the country had been increased to nearly 2000.
In their area of operations, Rwandan troops killed, captured some terrorists and quelled others who fled to the areas of Nangade and Macomia controlled by SADC forces.
They used to plot hit and run attacks from their new hideouts to areas captured by Rwandan troops. This stressed the need to develop new tactics to completely deal with the issue of terrorists.
As he received oaths of new officials including the Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana and Minister of State in the same ministry, Dr. Ivan Butera, President Kagame said that Rwanda increased troops deployed to Mozambique in connection with their new mandate.
“We have nearly 2500 troops including soldiers and Police personnel in Mozambique, working with Mozambican forces. Even yesterday, we deployed more troops. We did it because many problems have been solved in collaboration with Mozambicans since our initial deployment,” he said.
“There are ongoing problems because we were not present in all areas,” added Kagame.
The Head of State explained that security problems were dealt with in Rwanda’s areas of operations but lingered in other places.
“[…] It emerged that terrorists in Mozambique fled from their strongholds to other places. We agreed with Mozambique that we are going to chase them out of their new hideouts. This is what are going to do,” he noted.
Kagame disclosed that operations are fully financed by Rwanda, even as the country welcomes and wait for external support.