The Rwandan Armed Forces have extended action to the southern part of Cabo Delgado province, extending support to Mozambique in the fight against terrorism beyond the area of the gas projects, according to information released by the troops.
The gas projects, suspended due to attacks, are in the district of Palma, on the northeastern tip of the province, but Rwandan forces “have an ongoing operation launched since 21 December” in the district of Ancuabe, to the south, they announced in a statement.
“Mozambique’s defense minister, Major-General Cristóvão Chume, together with the deputy commander of the Mozambican armed forces, Lieutenant-General Bertolino Capetine, visited Rwandan forces in Ancuabe district,” reads the document published on Sunday, February 5.
The Mozambican leaders were briefed on the state of play by Brigadier General Frank Mutembe, commander of the designated combat group.
“They received a ‘briefing’ on the ongoing operations” and the Mozambican minister “showed appreciation for the work that has been done on the ground so far,” the Rwandan statement concluded.
The district hosts mines of graphite, a resource that has been valued in recent years due to the demand for manufacturing batteries for the new electric cars.
However, there were mines that suspended activity for some time in mid-2022, due to attacks by insurgents who are presumably in stampede from the northeast of the province, where they saw their clandestine bases destroyed.
The same scattered groups are suspected of carrying out the most recent attacks against civilians in other nearby districts.
Cabo Delgado has been facing a conflict since 2017 that has terrorized populations. Armed rebel groups have been looting and massacring villages and towns across the province, and a variety of attacks have been claimed by the ‘arm’ of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in that region.
The conflict has already caused more than 4000 deaths (data from The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project) and at least one million displaced people, according to an assessment made by the Mozambican authorities.
Since July 2022, a military offensive by Maputo, with support from Rwanda, and later by SADC, allowed a climate of greater security in the region that had not been felt for years, and recovered localities that were controlled by the rebels, such as the town of Mocímboa da Praia, occupied since 2020.