AFTER pushing back armed extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost province of Mozambique, Rwandan and Mozambican forces continue to mop up operations as well as liberating more civilian captives from remnants of the on-the-run insurgents.
The rapid advance of the joint forces in the past few months forced the terrorists to lose ground. In the past four days, more than 20 civilians were able to run away from their terrorist abductors.
After being repulsed from Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, and Mueda – the regions where Rwandan troops operate from – the insurgents ran further southwards and crossed the Messalo, a major river of northeastern Mozambique flowing through Niassa and Cabo Delgado Provinces, into Macomia district.
Macomia district is in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force’s areas of operation.
The SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) operates in Macomia, Nangade, Muidumbe and Quissanga districts.
Rwandan troops were deployed in Cabo Delgado on July 9 to work closely with Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and forces from SADC in designated sectors of responsibility.
Rwandan forces only operate north of the Messalo River in the districts of Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, and Mueda, and cannot cross the river and chase insurgents inside the SAMIM designated sectors of responsibility.
Leaders from the SADC bloc on October 5 agreed to extend their military mission – which intervened in Mozambique in July – so as to continue with offensive operations helping the government fight the Islamic State-linked insurgency.
After being repulsed from areas north of the river, the insurgents are now, time and again, crossing the Messalo in attempts to ambush Rwandan troops in the latter’s designated sectors of responsibility.
But Rwandan troops anticipated this and have continued intercepting the insurgents, killing dozens, and capturing their arms, drugs, and food rations, among others.
On October 6, they killed a commander of the insurgents known as Mohamoudu, alias, Simba Musituni, and his escort, Sgt Labilless.
Early in the morning, Rwandan troops deployed between Mbau and Limala, 7 kilometres from Mbau set up an ambush in an area they had spotted insurgents’ footpaths used by the latter as they headed into the Siri 2 forest. Two insurgents armed with light weapons and grenades were killed in the ambush.
An SMG rifle, seven magazines with bullets, two grenades, five phones, medicines and food items were seized.
After being repulsed from their strongholds in the past few months, the insurgents have continued to lose their grip on their civilian hostages as more people continue free and run to Rwandan troops who facilitate their return home.
The returnees have told Rwandan forces that all their five camps were relocated down south, across the Messalo, into a place called Miengelewa, in Macomia Districts.
Cabo Delgado province has 16 districts but those mainly affected by the insurgents’ terror activities were Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Mueda, Mocamia and Muidumbe.
Rwandan and Mozambican forces continue combing through most of the recaptured territory to ensure remnants of the terrorists do not resurface to undermine the peace as well as searching for and rescuing civilians previously kept hostage by the insurgents.