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Mozambican-Rwandan military cooperation is not enough to save Cabo Delgado from ISIS

The crisis in the norther province of Mozambique has been destroying lives and businesses since 2017, and now it is getting out of hand. Mozambique has lost a promising $20 billion liquefied natural gas project due to the bad security situation in Cabo Delgado. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in this conflict, while hundreds of thousands were displaced. What is most worrying in this situation, that the Islamic State (ISIS) claims ties to this insurrection. Fears are mounting that Mozambique’s Muslim-dominated province of Cabo Delgado could become the next frontier for prolonged jihadist rebellion on the continent.

The international community as well as the locals are alarmed at the situation, because Mozambican historically weak security forces have been unable tackle the spreading ISIS-linked forces. The neighboring countries, including those of the SADC-block showed great concern with the situation and started to develop plans to help Mozambique to contain and hopefully eradicate the threat. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) plans to deploy its standby force to Cabo Delgado soon.

Another ally in the fight is Rwanda. President Filipe Nyusi visited his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in April, around the same time a SADC summit about the insurgency was postponed. The two leaders discussed issues including fighting terrorism, and decided on deploying Rwandan forces to Mozambique to fight the ISIS-affiliated groups.

However, the military cooperation between Mozambique and Rwanda has not worked miracles. The success of this cooperation is propagated by the Mozambican government to give the illusion that the situation is finally taken under control. According to the sources within the Mozambican military establishment what Rwanda was able to offer is not enough to confront the growing network of jihadists.

The military sources recall that the cooperation between Mozambique and Russia back in 2018-19 proved to be more efficient. Back then the Russian military support allowed to make the security situation in all provinces stable enough to held the elections. Unfortunately, the Mozambican government misjudged the situation and decided that the islamist threat was over, so they decided to stop the bilateral military cooperation with the Russian Federation. Now more and more experts express the opinion that cooperation with Russia is exactly what Mozambique needs to stop the bloodshed in Cabo Delgado.

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