1. Mozambique’s security discussed in Rwanda

On 9 January, a delegation of senior officers of the Mozambique Defence and Security Forces led by the Head of General Staff of the FADM (Joaquim Mangrasse) and the General Commander of the PRM (Bernardino Rafael) went to Kigali to discuss the sovereignty of Mozambique, with emphasis on the security situation in Cabo Delgado.

According to Rwandan daily The New Times, the delegations of the two countries agreed on Sunday to establish joint security teams that will, among other tasks, design new strategies to improve the stabilization process and reform of the security sector in Cabo Delgado. The Heads of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Mozambique and Rwanda signed an agreement to expand the radius of intervention of Rwandan troops in the country.

CDD questions why sovereignty issues of Mozambique have to be discussed in Rwanda. Why was the meeting that decided on the creation of joint working teams to design new security strategies not held in Mozambique? The Kigali meeting between the defence and security officials of Mozambique and Rwanda took place on the eve of the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit, which is expected to decide, once again, on extending the mandate of the region’s troops fighting violent extremism in Cabo Delgado.

Last October Kagame made it known that the number of Rwandan military and police deployed in Mozambique had increased to about two thousand men. The Rwandan forces are fighting in the districts of Mocímboa da Praia and Palma, the latter being the epicenter of the Rovuma basin natural gas exploitation projects. Six months after the beginning of the military intervention in Cabo Delgado, it is still unclear how Rwanda will be compensated for such a high investment in human and financial resources. The Presidents of Mozambique (Filipe Nyusi) and Rwanda (Paul Kagame) insist on the narrative that the military intervention arises in the context of good bilateral relations between the two states and that it is financed by the Rwandan government and does not entail future costs for Mozambique. But the truth is that Rwanda is not investing millions of dollars in the military intervention in Cabo Delgado without a cost-benefit perspective, even if it is in the medium or long term. In fact, the question is how a low-income country would be financing a major military operation (about two thousand men) with its own funds.

After the meeting, the Rwandan Ministry of Defence issued a press release: “The meeting observed that the strong partnership between Rwandan security forces and Mozambican security organs registered success in the shortest possible time in stopping and neutralising the Ansar Al Sunnah terrorists. After the cessation of hostilities with insurgents in Rwanda Security Force areas of responsibility namely Palma and Mocimboa Da Praia in Cabo Delgado, the Rwandan security forces in partnership with Mozambique forces commenced stabilization operations to include repatriating civilians from camps in Cabo Delgado to their homes in order for them to continue with their normal lives,” it said, continuing to state that both sides agreed that the only way to ensure adequate recovery of the Northern Province was to resume significant economic activities, and well as the resettlement and repatriation of displaced people back to Cabo Delgado and to their homes. “This should be followed by a deliberate process of reforming the security sector through training and capacity development of Mozambican security forces.” Stressing that Rwanda is committed to maintaining the partnership it has forged with Mozambican Armed Forces, Rwandan General Jean Bosco Kazura said this is their way of ensuring Mozambique finds lasting peace. “The synergy of our joint forces has proved to yield excellent results,” he said.


2. Is The Insurgency Over? Atrocities Continue In Macomia District Despite Calls For IDP’s To Return

DHPI continues to receive numerous reports of ongoing atrocities against civilians, in the areas supposedly stabilized by Rwandan and Mozambican forces. The following message was received on 15 December 2021: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that this morning in the Nova Zambézia village (Macomia district) the Animator of the Word, Mr. Matthias was killed. He had gone out with his wife and children to tend their farm. It was there that he met his death in a very tragic way. According to information, the woman was forced to return home carrying her husband’s head to be presented to the authorities and the community as a kind of warning. May the soul of our dear Animator Rest in Peace.”

And from the same village on 2 January 2022: “The situation is getting worse in our area. On Saturday night, they entered Nova Zambézia again. They killed 3 people and another was injured. In the village of Nova Zambézia they said that the entire population is already leaving. So we are facing a serious situation since this village was considered the safest village due to the strong defence that the people had, under the command of a brave former military fighter who lives there and who got support in arms and organized a “small army” .

Three people were killed in a raid by insurgents on the village of Mariria, in Meluco district, located in Cabo Delgado, on Thursday night 6 January. This, the second attack on the village in less than a week, has villagers scared, with many fleeing into the bush and sleeping thereafter the second attack. The Mozambican defence and security forces did respond to the insurgents and were able to force them into retreat. In the aftermath, when some villagers emerged from the bush, they were mistakenly threatened by soldiers who thought they were insurgents as well; luckily, they were able to identify themselves and no further casualties were incurred. Civilian vehicles are no longer using the main roads in the Meluco district, instead using dirt roads that joins nearby Mitambo village to Pemba, and Montepuez.

Despite continuing reports of attacks, and repeated statements by Church leaders that it is not yet safe to return, the Rwandan military, in its press release after the meeting on 9 December 2021 reported above, said: ” After the cessation of hostilities with insurgents in Rwanda Security Force areas of responsibility namely Palma and Mocimboa Da Praia in Cabo Delgado, the Rwandan security forces in partnership with Mozambique forces commenced stabilization operations to include repatriating civilians from camps in Cabo Delgado to their homes in order for them to continue with their normal lives,”.

At the end of the SADC Heads of States meeting that took place in Lilongwe, Malawi on 11 and 12 January, South African President Ramaphosa claimed that the insurgents had been neutralized. He said: “ Six months after SAMIM was deployed life was returning to normal, with internally displaced people returning to their homes and relief food moving swiftly to support affected households.” Almost as he was speaking, the village of Luneke in the District of Nangade was being attacked, with the population fleeing into the bush and the road between Mueda and Nangade being blocked by insurgents.

The World Food Program is also upbeat. On 23 December 2021, in a significant move, WFP stated: “acknowledging that development projects are fundamental for the long-term stability and peace in northern Mozambique, WFP has started to gradually transition from life-saving food assistance to recovery and resilience activities”. WFP however qualified its statement by saying that:”it will take many months before everyone returns to their homes and restart their lives”.



3. Angoche: The Next Flashpoint?

In our update of 24 August 2021, we reported on exploration for LNG in the Angoche area of Nampula Province, as well as the fact that the prospecting was being done without any transparency or community consultation, and the fears of the local population, saying that: ”It is just a matter of time before the same attacks that are happening in Cabo Delgado will happen here to drive us off our land”.

The issue is now becoming critical. Calling Angoche “The New Eldorado”, Deutsche Welle Africa, on 12 January 2022, reported that: “The first hydrocarbon exploration wells in Angoche, in the northern province of Nampula, led by US oil company Exxon Mobil, should be completed this year. But the optimism about a better future is also accompanied by the fear of a second outbreak of insurgency, similar to Cabo Delgado, a province also in northern Mozambique.

But sociologist and specialist in African Studies João Feijó understands that, in terms of prevention, at least one step forward has already been taken: “It is assumed that today there are more security agents on the ground, attentive and scattered along the coast, which could prevent the spread of the insurgency along the coast of Nampula”. But the investigator warns that “now that this risk exists, it exists. And the coming times will tell whether or not there will be the capacity to sustain the insurgency.”

Supporting suspicions about the spread of the attacks is the fact that Nampula is a zone of influence for the insurgents. For example, they share the dominant religion in the province, Islam, an element that is easy to manipulate. And that made the region one of the main natural recruitment hubs.

Several Mozambican researchers have found that the insurgency in northern Mozambique was born out of social exclusion and, therefore, are in favor of creating inclusion policies. And to thwart the impacts of the spread, researcher João Feijó advocates more adjusted immediate measures. “It is necessary to rethink the development model. That it generates more employment, that supports the creation of small businesses, the training of small businessmen, in financial and management terms, with economic policies that also protect them later”, he lists.


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