Mozambican, Rwandan Forces Retake Key Port City from Islamist Militants

Mozambican and Rwandan forces said on Aug. 8 that they have retaken a key port city in northern Mozambique from Islamist militants.

“The port city of Mocímboa da Praia, a major stronghold of the insurgency for more than two years, has been captured by Rwandan and Mozambican security forces,” the Rwanda Defense Force said on Twitter.

The port city has been the de-facto headquarters of Al-Shabab, an extremist group linked with the Islamic State. It is where the first Islamist attacks took place in October 2017.

Colonel Omar Saranga, a spokesperson for Mozambique’s Defense Ministry, confirmed the recapture at a press conference in the Mozambican capital Maputo, specifying that the forces have regained control on the government buildings, the port, hospital, and airport.

Colonel Ronald Rwivanga, a spokesperson for the joint military force, told AFP News via a text message that Mocímboa da Praia in the Cabo Delgado province “was the last stronghold of the insurgents, marking the end of the first phase of counter-insurgency operations.”

“We will continue with security operations to completely pacify those areas,” Rwivanga further said.

Last July, Rwanda deployed 1,000 soldiers to back Mozambican military forces that have been struggling to regain control over Cabo Delgado, which is home to one of Africa’s biggest gas fields and where French energy company Total operates a $20 billion site.

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