Southern Africa: Mozambique, Rwanda and SADC Coordinate Operations

Maputo — Military commanders from Mozambique, Rwanda and the SADC Military Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) met on Wednesday and agreed "to enhance intelligence sharing in the fight against Islamic State linked terrorists", and coordinate operations, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the Rwandan daily "New Times".

The meeting took place in the town of Mocimboa da Praia, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. This town had been in terrorist hands for a year before joint Mozambican and Rwandan forces recaptured it on 8 August.

The Wednesday meeting was held to discuss coordinating operations in the continuing operations against the ISIS terrorists.

"First, they agreed to share intelligence. They also agreed to work together in helping people who were previously displaced to return to their homes and resettle", the Rwandan military spokesperson, Col Ronald Rwivanga, told "New Times".

"Third, and most important, is that they agreed to enhance cooperation in the operations to eliminate the remaining insurgents wherever they are, so that Cabo Delgado can be fully liberated", Rwivanga added.

He added that the remaining terrorists from the area in which the Rwandan forces are operating "crossed the Messalo river into the SADC forces' designated area of responsibility".

The Rwandans were working with the Mozambican forces mainly in Mocimboa da Praia and the neighbouring district of Palma. Rwivanga said that terrorists fleeing from the Rwandan/Mozambican advance, had crossed the river into Macomia district which is within the SAMIM area of responsibility. SAMIM is also operating in Nangade, Muidumbe and Quissanga districts.

Under the division of responsibility between the allied forces, the Rwandans should not cross the Messalo into the districts allocated to SAMIM.

The initial Rwandan contingent consisted of 800 troops and 200 police. However, on Tuesday, when addressing the Global Security Forum (GSF) in Doha, Qatar, Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced that there are now almost 2,000 Rwandan troops in Cabo Delgado.

The Mozambican authorities have not yet commented publicly on the increase in the size of the Rwandan contingent.

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