The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has lately featured prominently in the news media around the world, as they report the stunning defeat the Rwandan military together with the armed forces of Mozambique are inflicting on the Islamic State (IS) terrorists who have wreaked havoc in that country for the last four years.
And the excitement is understandable given that news of IS terrorists being routed, anywhere, has been hard to come by. Today, Islamic State violent extremists are escalating their horrors, as they expand the terror campaign to the African continent in their deluded pursuit of an equally delusional caliphate.
From Mali to Mozambique to other parts of the continent IS is fighting to establish a strong foothold.
In April, Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, flew to Kigali where he requested President Paul Kagame to provide his country with military support to help fight off IS insurgents who have terrorized the province of Cabo Delgado, cutting off some of the country’s vital cities and seaports for years.
After one month, RDF and the Mozambican military have recaptured much of the territory, including Mocímboa da Praia, a vital seaport that served as the terrorist headquarters, as well as their critical supply route.
People who were forced to abandon their homes by the Islamists are leaving displaced peoples’ camps and are reclaiming their property. Maputo is charting out plans to repair the infrastructure, as well as how to quickly restore public utilities.
On his return from Kigali, President Nyusi held a news conference at Maputo Airport, and told reporters his decision to seek assistance from Rwanda was informed by the country’s “experience in combating terrorism and violent extremism”.
Clearly, the smiling faces and excitement expressed by ordinary Mozambicans, who were earlier driven from their homes where many of their relatives were killed by the terrorists, vindicate their president’s choice.
Local news media too have shared the sense of relief. When Mocimbao da Praia was retaken from the IS, Club of Mozambique an online English publication wrote that recapturing the city “which the IS extremist fighters have held for a year is a major victory for the Rwandan soldiers and police who helped spearhead a counteroffensive at the request of Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi”.