More than 1,000 people in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region, who had been internally displaced by insurgency, have been successfully returned to their homes.
The Rwandan Defence Forces say the refugees have been moved from the Quitunda Camp and are now back in Palma to rebuild their lives.
Nearly one million people have been displaced due to IS-linked terrorism since 2017. The RDF joined Mozambican soldiers in a mission to stabilise the area.
Into its fourth year of tyranny, the IS-linked insurgency proved too much for the Mozambican government and Defence Force.
In March, insurgents attacked the coastal town of Palma again, this time beheading 12 foreign nationals.
The regional bloc, Southern African Development Community (SADC), became even more concerned and deliberated on sending in troops to assist.
Mozambique had also requested assistance from Rwanda. In July, 1 000 Rwandan Defence Forces soldiers were deployed.
RDF spokesperson Colonel Ronald Rwivanga says, “(They) operated from the north in a town called Mfundi which had a gas plant and we moved to Palma and we went to Quitunga until we captured the stronghold Mocimbia de Praia, which was main city where operations were being planned.”
Col Rwivanga says once they had secured the central and northern axis of the insurgent operations, they began reclaiming the villages in the joint operation with Mozambican troops.
He says the focus now is on moving people out of the displacement camps back into their homes.
“For the last few days, we have repatriated 1,300 from camp to their homes. Next, we are repatriating from Kihuwa camp to another village to complete stabilisation.”
The defence forces spokesperson says it’s still too early to tell when they will be able to pull out of Mozambique because while there have been small victories, the instability persists in other parts of the region.
“Stabilisation is a long process. We hope the next step will also be short. We expect civilians to get back to their normal daily lives.”
Col Rwivanga says the SADC Mission is working in separate areas but they are sharing intelligence. – SABC