1. Rwandan troops now also guarding ruby and graphite mines


The number of Rwandan soldiers and police fighting insurgents in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado

province increased from 1 000 in 2021 to 2 500 by the end of 2022. In December last year, they were placed in the

province’s southern Ancuabe District, a strategic deployment that protects the multimillion-dollar ruby and graphite

industries which had been temporarily halted due to the insurgency. The heightened security has made areas with

abundant natural resources safer – but what about the rest of Cabo Delgado? Are civilians living there better off?

When Rwandan troops were sent to Cabo Delgado’s northern districts for the first time in July 2021, they had a

broad mandate to help restore Mozambican state authority. But their focus on protecting natural resources seems

more specific than that of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), which

was deployed at the same time.

Macomia, Muidumbe and Nangade districts were the main sites of attacks on civilians and clashes with security

forces throughout 2022. In the last quarter of that year, insurgents began making inroads into Cabo Delgado’s

relatively safe southern region. Attacks were launched in the districts of Ancuabe, Namuno, Chiúre and even reached

the neighbouring province of Nampula.

As part of the incursion into southern Cabo Delgado, Gemrock – one of three ruby mines in the province – was

attacked, resulting in the region’s entire operations being temporarily halted. The graphite industry in the Balama

district also suspended activities due to fear of attacks on transport lines from the mine to the country’s ports.

The gemstone and graphite industries are vital to Mozambique’s economy. Montepuez Ruby Mining ranks among

the country’s biggest taxpayers, and Syrah Resources has an agreement to supply Tesla with raw materials produced

in Cabo Delgado.

The biggest mystery remains the source of financing for Rwanda’s expanding Cabo Delgado mission

The southward expansion of attacks threatened the natural resource exploitation in the region, as had happened

with gas enterprises in Palma. No foreign troops were present in Cabo Delgado’s southern districts, and

Mozambique’s defence and security forces could not contain the growing threat. Authorities then turned to Rwanda

to protect the country’s gemstone and graphite industries. Rwandan President Paul Kagame visited Maputo and

sealed an agreement with his counterpart Filipe Nyusi for Rwandan forces’ to deploy in southern Cabo Delgado. Two

months later, troops were in place, opening a new position in the Ancuabe district.

Although the legal status of SAMIM’s presence in Cabo Delgado is public knowledge and widely discussed, the terms

governing Rwandan forces are veiled in secrecy. The nature of the agreements between the two countries is unknown, as are the powers assigned to Rwanda’s forces. The biggest mystery remains the source of financing for

Rwanda’s expanding Cabo Delgado mission. Kagame insists that Rwanda is paying its own way. Some research has

suggested that Rwanda’s goal is to ‘protect the gas exploration, liquefaction and logistics projects in the Rovuma

Basin.’ But the opening of a new southern front adds gemstones and graphite to the list of assets Kigali seeks to


The opening of a new southern front adds gemstones and graphite to the assets Kigali seeks to protect

From its new position in Ancuabe, Rwanda’s forces are conducting regular patrols along the EN14 highway, covering

the Ancuabe, Montepuez and Balama districts. Their presence has improved security in the region. Vehicles that

previously needed defence and security force escorts between Pemba and Montepuez are now travelling without

protection. Graphite transport along the EN14 has resumed, and the gemstone industry is operating relatively safely.

However, Cabo Delgado’s south appears to be another island of safety for the benefit of Mozambique’s natural

resources (rather than its people) – something authorities’ have always prioritised. Terror attacks continue in the

central and western districts where gas and mineral reserves are less abundant. There, SAMIM forces are trying to

keep the civilian population safe without the help of Rwandan or Mozambican security forces. Since the insurgency

started, Mozambique’s focus has been primarily on protecting Cabo Delgado’s natural resources, with human

security relegated to the background. The government now has Rwandan troops as its partner in this quest.

Effective coordination between the Rwandan forces, SAMIM and the Mozambique Defence Force is still lacking. Until

that is achieved, safety for the people of Cabo Delgado will remain elusive.




2. Anger spreads over attacks on Mozambican vehicles in SA

Mozambique’s National Defence and Security Council(CNDS) on Thursday called for “immediate solutions to the competent authorities” to halt attacks on Mozambicancars in South Africa. “The National Defence and Security Council urged the competent authorities to find immediate solutions with the government of that country to eradicate the problem,” said a statement from the Mozambican presidency sent to the media. The statement reviewed the regular meeting of the Defence and Security Council chaired by Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi. The CNDS“strongly condemned the wave of vandalisation” of vehicles, the statement added.

At least six Mozambican vehicles, including a bus and a truck, have been burnt by assailants since last week on the R22 road between Hluhluwe and Mbazwana, in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. The stretch, about 90 kilometres from the border with Mozambique, is part of the link used by several carriers between Maputo and Durban. The attacks came after local communities in that area of KwaZulu-Natal complained of several thefts of vehicles allegedly smuggled into Mozambique that have gone unpunished. “Taking the law into your own hands by setting vehicles on fire will only exacerbate the problem,” the South African national police commissioner, Fannie Masemola, explained at a meeting with the population on Tuesday. Mozambique: Defence Council calls for ‘immediate solutions’ to SA attacks on Mozambican vehicles | Club of Mozambique



3. TotalEnergies CEO announces resumption of operations, as attacks escalate in the rest of Cabo Delgado


The visit of TotalEnergies President and CEO Patrick Pouyanné to Palma and Mocímboa da Praia, coincided with a resurgence of insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado. Days before the visit that, attacks on vehicles on the National Road 380, between the village of Macomia and the intersection of Silva Macua, with repeated and simultaneous attacks in other districts of Cabo Delgado.

The first attack on vehicles, after a long period of relative tranquility, took place on Wednesday. Three vehicles were ambushed. At least seven dead, six seriously injured and three minor injuries were confirmed. There were also many people kidnapped.

The CEO of TotalEnergies visited Cabo Delgado on Friday, February 3, and met in Pemba with President Nyusi. The attacks and ambushes along the highways resumed two days before the arrival of the CEO, when the visit had already been confirmed by unofficial sources.

The day after the arrival of the CEO of TotalEnergies, Saturday, there was also an ambushing of a vehicle in the village of Nangororo, a region which had also recorded a car attack on Wednesday.

This comes as TotalEnergies is already making an assessment of its return to continue the Mozambique LNG project. During his visit to Cabo Delgado, Patrick Pouyanné said that they intended to assess the security and humanitarian situation as part of the decision-making on the date of return.

“Thus, he went to the industrial site of Afungi, the resettlement village of Quitunda, visited the villages of Palma and Mocímboa da Praia and met with President Filipe Nyusi to talk about the evolution of the security and humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province, where the Mozambique LNG project is located”, says a statement from TotalEnergies, distributed on the day the visit took place.

Total’s LNG project: Threats flare up when thinking about the return – Voice of Cabo Delgado (avoz.org)

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