Rwanda: RDF Allays Fears of Reprisal Attack From Mozambique Islamic Militants

Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) has moved to ease concerns that its recent deployment in Mozambique could potentially attract retaliation from the Islamic militants.

Rwanda started deploying 1000 troops Cabo Delgado in the northern province of Mozambique in early July in order to help fight the terrorists, stabilise the area as well as restore state authority.

While the deployment attracted fears of reprisal, on the Rwandan soil, by terrorists, RDF spokesperson Col. Ronald Rwivanga, allayed those concerns.

"The fear of reprisal, we are ready for that," he said at a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affair, Dr Vincent Biruta, on July 29.

We knew that there is a possibility we could be targeted, he added, but we are ready to take that risk in the name of our values of protecting civilians.

Rwandan forces are already gaining ground after overrunning some territories that were previously controlled by terrorists.

"We committed ourselves to protect civilians wherever they are... this is something that we decided as a government," Col Rwivanga said.

Citing the example of Central African Republic (CAR) which Rwandan troops have helped pacify, Rwivanga said, based on the country's experience, the government has decided that whenever civilians are at risk, it will participate through either bilateral or UN agreements.

However, even before CAR, Rwivanga said that Rwanda has, since the early 2000s, taken part in peacekeeping missions.

Rwivanga pointed out that since July 24, Rwandan troops have taken part in various operations, as they look to gain ground against the now retreating insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

Awasse, one of the hotspots for terrorist activities has lost more than 11 attackers, he said.

The region borders between Mocimboa da Praia and Mueda districts.

Several types of equipment have also been captured by Rwandan forces including small machine guns, medium machine guns, RPG, pistols and assortments of medicines.

"So far, we have not had major causalities except one minor injury, and he is also recovering."

Rwandan forces are closely working with Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) as well as forced from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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