War follows those who fled into the west

War follows those who fled into the west

  With regional forces retaking Cabo Delgado, insurgents turn their attention inland   Luis Nhachote The insurgency in Mozam

 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kyle Steckler/Released)

 

With regional forces retaking Cabo Delgado, insurgents turn their attention inland

 

Luis Nhachote

The insurgency in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado has shifted west, with communities attacked and thousands displaced as forces from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, continue the operations they began last year.
Following the recapture of Mocimboa da Praia, with its strategic harbour and airport, soldiers have worked to secure
areas that are critical to gas exploitation – by and large along the eastern coastal area.
Under that pressure, insurgents began focusing their raids further west, across the provincial border and into the district of Mecula, which itself borders Tanzania at the Ruvuma River.
Local sources tell The Continent that insurgents attacked the community of Naulala just before Christmas. They
looted the local health post, taking medicines and medical equipment, robbing stalls and looting food products.
The local chief ’s home was burned down. Another attack was reported nearby on 27 December, in which five residents were killed. The governor of the province told The Continent last week however that “the current situation is calm”.
About four thousand people have been displaced by such attacks, adding to the six thousand people already displaced in the province – a third of whom had themselves arrived from Cabo Delgado, then in the throes of the initial insurgency.
This month, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, renewed their
agreement for Rwandan troops to stay in Cabo Delgado, with no details about when they will leave provided. The deployment started at a thousand soldiers and police and has since doubled. SADC’s mission has also had its mandate extended for another three months.
Adriano Nuvunga, head of the Maputo-based Centre for Democracy and Development, said Mozambique’s SADC neighbours have an important role to play. He said it is “also a way of pre-empting, right at the beginning, the potential regional impact” of the insurgency. ■

This article was original published by The Continent

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