Islamists in Mozambique continue to wreak havoc: SADC and Rwanda
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Sunni Islamist terrorists are spreading their insurgency inside northern Mozambique and right up to the border of Tanzania. Initially, the impetus of regional military forces from the Southern African Development Community bloc (SADC) and Rwanda stemmed the tide. However, fighting is intensifying once more.
The SADC mission in support of Mozambique entails the armed forces of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Tanzania. Rwanda also sent its armed forces to stem the Islamist onslaught in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Voice of America reports, “More than 3,000 SADC and Rwandan troops have been sent to Mozambique to fight against Islamic State-connected insurgents. The conflict has claimed more than three thousand lives and displaced 800,000 people.”
Yet, Islamists continue to hold parts of the province of Cabo Delgado – while also spreading to other regions in the north of Mozambique. Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, said, “Those fleeing violence suffered and witnessed atrocities, including killings, the decapitation and dismemberment of bodies, sexual violence, kidnappings, forced recruitment by armed groups, and torture. The threat of renewed violence means the number of people arriving in Mueda continues to increase.”
UN News reports, “Over 735,000 people have fled their homes since the conflict in Cabo Delgado started in October 2017.”
In a past article, Modern Tokyo Times reported, “Northern parts of Mozambique are blessed with rich gas deposits. Indeed, the province of Cabo Delgado is home to the biggest gas fields on the continent of Africa. However, for the majority of local people, poverty runs deep. The same applies to the basic infrastructure and the feeling of neglect. Therefore, Mozambique needs to focus on various angles to the conflict and not just the military angle.”
Late last year, the BBC praised the professionalism of the armed forces of Rwanda. This agency said – concerning the armed forces of Rwanda – “Highly trained, well-disciplined troops from a small African nation have, in some ways, achieved more in a few weeks than the Mozambican army has in four years.”
It is disconcerting that Islamists are increasingly committing attacks in the provinces of Nampula and Niassa. Thus the convulsions in the province of Cabo Delgado are spreading in northern Mozambique. Niassa is especially vulnerable because it shares a perilous border with Tanzania.
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