Mozambican and Rwandan troops have overrun one of the main bases of the Islamic States-linked terrorist organisation operating in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost province of Mozambique, according to reports.
Reports indicate that the base, captured on Monday, July 26, is in the region of Auasse, on the border between Mocimboa da Praia and Mueda districts.
This comes after Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, in his address to the nation on Sunday noted that Mozambican defence forces had seized terrorist positions at Diaca, Roma and Nantili.
Mozambican and Rwandan units are still pursuing the terrorists. The Mozambican leader noted that the country’s military is gaining ground against the now retreating insurgency in Cabo Delgado.
Rwandan troops have come to save lives
Among others, Nyusi expressed his gratitude to African countries, especially Rwanda, for sending troops to help fight insurgents in Cabo Delgado. He lauded soldiers already deployed by Rwanda as regional allies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also prepared to deploy there.
Nyusi said: “Rwandan troops have come to save lives in a province where we have people being killed and beheaded every day.”
His remarks come two weeks after Kigali, at the request of Maputo, deployed 1,000 troops to Cabo Delgado to help fight the terrorists, stabilise 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 SADC, in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado. Rwandan and Mozambican forces have already moved into offensive and defensive positions in some areas of Cabo Delgado and even engaged and repulsed the insurgents, according to reports.
Early last week, reports from Mozambique indicated that a joint operation of Rwandan troops and Mozambique forces launched an attack on insurgents in Mocímboa da Praia.
Rwandan forces are reported to have deployed to the town of Nangade in Nangade district, west of the coastal region of Palma and other areas ready to take the battle to the insurgents.
Details remain scant but media reports last week also indicated that a small contingent of the South African forces and those from Botswana arrived in Cabo Delgado as part of the larger expected SADC force. According to reports, the SADC advance team was not expected to be immediately involved in direct combat operations against the terrorists.
Last month, the 16-member SADC agreed to send troops to the insurgent-hit Cabo Delgado province. A SADC Standby Force was initially meant to deploy there on July 15.
Details including the timing of the full SADC deployment are not yet known but Botswana on Monday, sent nearly 300 military troops to Mozambique, to help battle the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province.
Angola, it is reported, plans to send 20 military advisers to Mozambique to help it tackle escalating violence in Cabo Delgado province.
On Sunday, Nyusi thanked SADC and Rwanda for the mobilisation and noted that the “mandate of foreign forces is to help Mozambican forces restore peace and stability.”
He urged Mozambicans not to fear the presence of foreign forces in their country, adding: “We should be afraid of being alone in fighting terrorism.”
Lately, Nyusi said, the violence in Cabo Delgado has driven around 826,000 people from their homes and claimed more than 2,000 lives.
In October 2017, armed extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched an insurgency in Cabo Delgado.
The group sometimes calls themselves al-Shabaab, although they do not have known links with the Somali al-Shabaab.
For months, the Mozambique Defence Armed Forces have been battling the extremists. Many civilians have been displaced by the fighting.