France Ready to Help Fight Insurgency in Cabo Delgado

Alexandre Nhampossa
Alexandre Nhampossa
Alexandre Nhampossa is a Mozambican journalist and researcher based in Maputo. He has a postgraduate degree in agro-economic journalism from Politécnica University and a degree from Eduardo Mondlane University. His interests include politics, conflicts and climate change.

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France is ready to support Mozambique in re-establishing security in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado, which has been affected by armed insurgency since October 2017.

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, in a message sent to his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi in the context of the 49th anniversary of Mozambique’s independence from France, France will join the fight with its “European and African partners.”

The coming months will be marked by “some good moments” in the partnership between the two countries, according to the message seen by Atlas News, which does not clarify in which areas or circumstances such partnerships will be implemented.

Rwanda, which has been supporting Mozambique in the fight against insurgency since 2021, has been relying on an undeclared type of aid from France. Paris also participates through European funding of Rwandan forces’ operations, as well as via the European Union Military Assistance Mission in Mozambique (EUMAM Mozambique).

Meanwhile, new funding for Rwandan forces is dividing EU member states, which have failed to reach the consensus needed to release more funds, and Belgium is considering more sanctions to punish Kigali for its involvement in the conflict in DR Congo, according to Africa Intelligence.

Mozambique has asked for a second tranche of €20 million to be released via the European Peace Facility (EPF) to support the Rwanda Defence Force’s deployment in Cabo Delgado. The request was considered at a meeting of the European Council’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) on 3 July. The request is supported by France and Portugal, but others, including the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, have been reluctant in view of Rwanda’s involvement in supporting the M23 militia group in eastern DRC.

Rwanda’s help is important for the continued stabilization of Cabo Delgado, especially with the end of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) mandate earlier this month. Tanzania’s military is maintaining a bilateral deployment in Nangade district, and Rwanda has sent more troops to plug the gap left by SAMIM’s departure.

Defense Minister Cristóvão Chume told a farewell ceremony on July 4th in the provincial capital Pemba that the combined actions of SAMIM and the Mozambican security forces have inflicted significant casualties on the insurgents. However, insurgent attacks continue, as well as a feeling of insecurity and instability among the population, he acknowledged.

SAMIM handed over various types of weapons captured from the insurgents to the Mozambican government, including eight RPG-7s and PKMs, a machine gun, a mortar, 70 AK-47s, seven pistols, and an AKS/SAR, a G3 rifle. The captured material also included rockets, ammunition, and cartridges, as well as 800 Islamic holy books.