Africa-Press – Mozambique. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday confirmed the arrival of the first contingent of troops from Rwanda to assist Mozambique in fighting the islamist terrorists who have been operating in the northern province of Cabo Delgado since October 2017.
Speaking in the Cabo Delgado town of Mueda, which is the headquarters of the northern operational theatre of the Mozambican defence and security forces, Nyusi said “They (the Rwandans) began to arrive today. They’re already here”.
In a meeting with veterans of Mozambique’s national liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, Nyusi urged them to ensure a healthy co-existence with the foreign troops.
According to a statement from the Kigali authorities, Rwandan will send a thousand members of the Rwandan armed forces and police. That statement declared that “the Rwandan contingent will support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security sector reform”.
“It was SADC (Southern African Development Community) which authorized Mozambique to seek support from other friends”, said Nyusi, according to Radio Mozambique. “We took a long time to think, to organize and to plan”.
Nyusi announced that further military support, from SADC countries, will arrive next week. “They’ve already written to the United Nations Secretary-General to say that, as from 15 July, they are going to help Mozambique”, he added.
Nyusi stressed that the foreign contingents will be under Mozambican command. “They are going to work with us, but they don’t give the orders”, he said. “They are going to organize themselves and work with our commanders. The fight against rebel groups will be organized by Mozambican commanders. Our commanders will divide the theatre into areas, so that they don’t all go to the same place”.
“The defence of the country depends on us”, Nyusi stressed, adding that Mozambique hs never refused to receive military support of any nature – but it was first necessary to set up the conditions in the country to receive that support.
Defending Mozambique is the exclusive responsibility of Mozambicans, he insisted. Friends can help, but sooner or later they would return to their own countries, and it would be up to Mozambicans to guarantee security.
He denied that the Cabo Delgado conflict was caused by religious differences, or by poverty. Different religious communities had lived side by side since the colonial epoch. “There have always been moslems, and there have always been Christians and we never fought each other”, he said.
As for the claim that there is more poverty in Cabo Delgado than anywhere else in Mozambique, “that’s a big lie”, Nyusi declared.
Even in Cabo Delgado, there was poverty in districts untouched by the conflict, such as Namuno. Elsewhere in the country, there was also plenty of poverty. Nyusi cited Chicualacuala district, in the southern province of Gaza.
“It was only last week that we managed to put water supply in Chicualacuala”, he said. “Since colonial times water was taken to Chicualacuala in tankers by train. There was no water, but there was no war”. So blaming the Cabo Delgado war on poverty “is a lie”.
Nyusi did, however, believe that the violence is linked to the mineral wealth discovered in Cabo Delgado, particularly in Palma district, where there are enormous offshore deposits of natural gas. Those behind the terrorism “are arranging the war in order to control the wealth. These are the terrorists and the bandits”.
Furthermore, these people (whom he did not name) do not want Mozambicans to control their waters, so that they can continue to steal the country’s fish, and use Mozambique as a corridor for drug trafficking. He suggested that the same groups are involved in the illegal trade in timber and in wild life products.