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Mozambique Says Influx of African Troops Will Target Cabo Delgado Insurgents


In this photo supplied by the Mozambican Presidency, President Filipe Nyusi, right, during a visit to his Defence and Security Force Troops in Northern Mozambique, July 9, 2021.

Mozambique's defense minister says South African troops are expected this week to join operations meant to counter insurgents in northern Cabo Delgado province.

Defense Minister Jaime Neto says terrorists are being cornered as a result of intense operations by Mozambican and Rwanda forces in Cabo Delgado.

Briefing the media in Maputo on Friday, the defense minister said it was difficult to count the number of insurgents killed in the operations.

He was referring to an announcement made by Rwandan authorities in Kigali about the killing of 14 terrorists in Cabo Delgado during an operation this week.

Rwandan soldiers, who arrived in Cabo Delgado about a week ago, are fighting alongside Mozambican troops under the framework of a bilateral agreement.

In addition to Rwanda, Mozambique will have support from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), following the approval by regional leaders of a "joint standby force” during a summit in Maputo last month.

Neto said Rwanda and Mozambique are operating together but SADC will start. The contingents will arrive. He said I think the South African contingent will start very soon, within this week, which is significant but also a contingent from Botswana is coming. He said an Angolan contingent will also arrive and part of it is already on the ground.

The number of soldiers the regional bloc will send to Mozambique is not publicly known, but experts from the SADC, who were in Cabo Delgado, proposed that the mission should have around 3,000 soldiers.

Armed groups have terrorized Cabo Delgado province since 2017, with some attacks being claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Humanitarian organizations estimate that more than 3,100 people have been killed and up to a million others displaced.