The Chief of Staff of Mozambique’s armed forces said on Sunday that the army has greater control of Cabo Delgado and that operations are continuing to pursue the rebels terrorising that province in northern Mozambique.
“We have managed to develop operations and have greater control in the region, relentlessly pursuing the terrorists,” said Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse, in a briefing to the president of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, as part of a visit that the head of state began to the province of Tete, in central Mozambique.
According to the Chief of the General Staff, the elimination of the leader of terrorism in the country, Mozambican Bonomade Machude Omar, was a “huge casualty” for the rebels who have been attacking Cabo Delgado province since 2017.
“We assure your excellency that the armed forces of Mozambique remain firm in their pursuit operations,” emphasised Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse, considering that the army was increasingly “firm”, although he acknowledged budgetary limitations.
“With very little, we’ve done a lot. With more support, we could do much more. But the results of a war are not just about the success of a battle. We have to be aware of the latent dangers and take precautions for the future,” concluded Joaquim Rivas Mangrasse.
The death of Bonomade Machude Omar, considered to be the leader of the radical Islamic State group in Mozambique, was announced on 25 August and was the result of an operation called “Golpe Duro II” by the army.
The extremist leader was described by several experts as “a symbiosis of brutality and vigilante” and was on the US list of “global terrorists” and the target of European Union sanctions.
The province of Cabo Delgado has been facing an armed insurgency for almost six years, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.
On the ground in Cabo Delgado, the Mozambican Armed Defence Forces have been fighting terrorism – in attacks that have been taking place since October 2017 and which are hampering the progress of natural gas production projects in the region – since July 2021, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The conflict in northern Mozambique has already displaced one million people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and caused around 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project, while the Mozambican President has admitted to “more than 2,000” fatalities.