Rwanda’s deployment of a 1,000-person contingent of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique is commended by the African Union as a strong and concrete act of African solidarity to support a fellow Member State fight terrorism and insecurity.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), on Saturday, July 10 tweeted: “I commend the Republic of Rwanda’s deployment of 1000 RDF & Rwanda National Police members, to Cabo Delgado, at the request of the govt of Mozambique, as a strong and concrete act of African solidarity to support a fellow Member State fight terrorism and insecurity.”
The government of Rwanda on July 9, announced that at the request of the government of Mozambique, it was deploying a 1,000-person contingent of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and the Rwanda National Police (RNP) to Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, which is currently affected by terrorism and insecurity.
The deployment is based on the good bilateral relations between Rwanda and Mozambique, following the signing of several agreements between the two countries in 2018. The deployment is also grounded in Rwanda’s commitment to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine and the 2015 Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, a statement by the government of Rwanda stressed.
On Saturday, Defence and Military Spokesperson, Col Ronald Rwivanga, said the country’s joint Military and Police 1,000-person contingent that started deploying to Mozambique on July 9 will only return home once its mission is accomplished.
The Rwandan military and police are going to work closely with Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in designated sectors of responsibility. They were sent to support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform (SSR).
Rwivanga said: “This contingent is not time-specific. Instead, it is mission-specific. We have a mission to carry out and when it is accomplished, we shall come back home.”
Beginning in October 2017, armed extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched an insurgency in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique.
The group sometimes calls themselves al-Shabaab, although they do not have known links with the Somali al-Shabaab.
Mozambique Defence Armed Forces have been battling the extremists. Many civilians have been displaced by the fighting.
The militants have launched attacks, and in August 2020 seized the port town of Mocimboa da Praia.
More than 50 people were beheaded by terrorists in the province in April 2020 and a similar number in November 2020. In September 2020, the ISIL insurgents captured Vamizi Island in the Indian Ocean.
On March 24, the militants seized Palma, murdering dozens of civilians displacing more than 35,000 of the town’s 75,000 residents.