Mozambique: US should act, not pay lip service against terror The Ansar al-Sunna insurgent group in Mozambique is driven by Islamic fundamentalism. — Picture: AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Albert Rudatsimburwa

Last Friday, the Voice of America (VOA) published a story: “US Calls for Redoubled Efforts to Fight Insurgents in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado,” in which the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, reportedly said greater efforts were needed in Mozambique to push back insurgents spreading south from the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Funded by the US Congress, the VOA is part of the US Agency for Global Media, the government agency that oversees all non-military, American international broadcasting.

Amb Thomas-Greenfield was in Mozambique recently as she made a three-nation tour of Africa. Addressing a media briefing at the end of her two-day visit in Mozambique, the VOA report noted, Thomas-Greenfield said “the United States is willing to work with Mozambique in the United Nations Security Council.”

Early this month, the article highlighted, Mozambique took its one-year non-permanent seat on the security council.

The VOA report notes that Mozambique took its one-year non-permanent seat on the Security Council at a time when the armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, in the north of the country, remains the main security challenge, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

And then Thomas-Greenfield is quoted, saying: “We have to redouble our efforts to push back on terrorist actions. The activities are terrorising ordinary citizens such as the citizens of Cabo Delgado, and we are working closely with the government to address those issues.”

The VOA also released a very short video — under the title “US Envoy Reiterates Commitment to Mozambique’s Anti-terrorism Efforts” — of the press conference in Maputo in which the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa told reporters that “to address terrorism, you have to have a multifaceted approach.”

“It is not just the security side, but it is also dealing with the issues that ordinary people are faced with every single day. We are providing training and equipment for the police, but we are also supporting the humanitarian needs of people who have been impacted by the terrorists,” said Thomas-Greenfield.

And then she went on talking about how her country is the “largest donor to humanitarian programmes in Mozambique,” adding that much of that is now focused on Cabo Delgado.

But she was not convincing when it comes to her government’s commitment, and will, to help Mozambique battle the terrorists in Cabo Delgado.

Considering what Rwanda, a country with meagre resources, has done to help, Thomas-Greenfield was not being 100 percent honest.

At the request of the Mozambican government, Kigali first deployed 1 000 military and police officers to Cabo Delgado, where Islamic State-linked insurgents had wreaked havoc since 2017.

The first 1 000 Rwandan troops — picked from the country’s best — arrived on July 9, 2021. In only three weeks, they had cleared insurgents from key areas of Cabo Delgado, and followed up with mop up operations to fully secure most other areas under their control.

On top of fighting terrorists, Rwandan Security Forces are supporting in resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and normalcy is returning in areas under their control.

Since 2017, terrorist attacks had killed over 4 000 civilians and displaced tens of thousands. Rwandan troops rescued hundreds of civilians from the hands of the terrorists and established good working relations with the Southern African Development Community mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and the host nation.

Today, the Rwandan force has grown to over 2 500 well trained soldiers and police officers. Kigali and Maputo are determined to pursue the terrorists in other areas where they relocated to.

End of November 2022, the European Union approved €20 million (approx. Rwf22,7 billion) in assistance for the operations of Rwandan troops in Cabo Delgado.

The EU package added to the assistance of €89 million for the Mozambican army in conjunction with the EU Training Mission Mozambique and €15 million for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission.

Before then, Rwanda’s operations in Cabo Delgado were fully and single handedly funded by the Rwandan budget.

In March 2021, the US labelled the insurgents as Isis-Mozambique and “global terrorists”.

Even though the US refused to release its evidence, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 14, 2021 stressed that the main US interest in Mozambique was “countering Isis”.

On April 4, 2022 the US named Mozambique as one of five countries under the Global Fragility Act, which would involve substantially increased America’s involvement in Mozambique.

Washington continues to imply, albeit so vaguely, that it wants to support the war against the terrorists in Cabo Delgado but really does nothing.

While in Maputo, Thomas-Greenfield was especially vague when she said: “We have to redouble our efforts to push back on terrorist actions.”

The US claims to be in favour of helping, but so far all that is coming from them is lip service. They should be walking the talk – redouble, or even triple, their support towards fighting the terrorist.

Otherwise, all their current talk is just lip service and, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations has no grounds to make the statements she made while in Maputo, to others. — The New Times

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