Kagame says troops will stay put in Cabo Delgado to ensure stability

Saturday September 25 2021
President Paul Kagame

President Paul Kagame in Pemba, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, on a visit to the Rwandan soldiers deployed there. PHOTO | AFP

By Johnson Kanamugire


The EastAfrican

President Paul Kagame has praised the Rwandan troops deployed to fight insurgents in Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique for their good work fighting insurgents.

While addressing the joint force of Mozambican Armed Defence and Rwanda Defence Force on Friday at Cabo Delgado, he also said the soldiers will stay put to stabilise and facilitate the return of displaced civilians to their homes.

Kagame was on his first visit to the country since the Rwandan deployment two months ago. He was accompanied by his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi.

He said the troops were ready to embark on another task of rebuilding and protecting the country.


Duration of mandate

“The work done so far cannot stop here. We now have another task which is to continue rebuilding and protecting this country. The president and people of Mozambique are at the forefront of this and will inform us how long our mandate here should be,” Kagame said.

“The rebels better know that we won’t sit back and let them return and threaten the lives of the people in Cabo Delgado.”

President Kagame is on a two-day state visit to Mozambique and also keep abreast of the military operations against the insurgent groups in Cabo Delgado. He is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Mozambican counterpart at which the two leaders will sign co-operation deals.

The Rwanda President’s Office announced that the two Heads of State will attend a military ceremony for Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

President Nyusi praised the Rwandan troops, describing them as heroes, who are loved and respected, and have shown immense respect to Mozambican citizens.

The Rwandan contingent is 1,000-soldier strong, made up of the army and the police who recently launched offensive against the insurgents in Cabo Delgado province

In July, Rwanda was the first to send troops to Mozambique. Botswana later sent a contingent of 296 and South Africa deployed 1,500 soldiers.

Both presidents Nyusi and Kagame have defended the deployment saying it was necessary to counter the rising threat of terrorism and insecurity after the insurgents linked to the Islamic State group took control of most of the five districts in Cabo Delgado in four years since 2017.

President Kagame has defended the deployment, and said his country is footing the deployment bill for now, and the mission will stay on to train the Mozambican army, pointing out that the nature of the threat was regional given that the insurgents not only included Mozambicans, but also Tanzanians, Ugandans, Kenyans, Somalis, Yemenis, Congolese and Rwandan fighters.

“There is nobody who sponsored us for this. Our minister of Finance knows how much we have been draining into this, but I think the outcome and cause are much bigger than the money we have spent. Maybe we will work with the Mozambican government to fill the gaps that have been created.” President Kagame said on September 5, at a press briefing on the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency TV.