By Erasme Rugemintwaza
Mozambique, cornered by the insurrectionary rebellion which initially gave itself the name of “Shebabs” with Islamic principles, called its friends to help it control this situation which persisted. It firstly called the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which it is a member without forgetting other friends including Rwanda. Rwanda, prompt, did not hesitate to immediately send a contingent of its special forces of the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) and the Rwandan National Police (RNP) to rescue its friend, Mozambique. But this military intervention was not viewed with the same eye by the international community. SADC expressed reluctance, some Mozambican and even Rwandan citizens had doubts about their governments. In short, the Rwandan intervention has raised many questions, starting with whether this military intervention was carried out in a transparent and law-abiding manner, then what Rwanda wants in a country as far away as Mozambique, not to mention the thorny problem of the costly financing of such an operation for a country very poor like Rwanda. Where do we arrive with this questioning, after 6 months of military operations whose daily victories are resounding?_
It was on Friday, July 9, 2021, when the Government of Rwanda issued a statement saying that “The Government of Rwanda, at the request of the Government of Mozambique, today begins to send a contingent of 1,000 members of the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) and the Rwandan National Police (RNP), in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, currently facing insecurity.”
Briefly, since 2017, the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, a province rich in natural resources has fallen to Islamist insurgents, who have taken control of much of its territory, killing three thousand people and pushing hundreds of thousands to flee their lands.
The rebels say they are collaborating with the Islamic State terrorist group, and the latter also says it intends to work with them.
Some critics, however, say there is no direct interaction between the rebels, who are mostly made up of local youths, and the Islamic State other than having the common denominator of being terrorist organizations.
Shortly after their arrival, the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) jointly with the Armed Defense Forces of Mozambique (FADM), as well as the SADC forces, also present, the displaced populations who had fled, returned to their homes. . These populations say that seeing these rebels, one can easily conclude that they do not know what they are doing.
Hamiss Juma, 18, returned with his host family, along with thousands of others who had fled. “We were on the run without respite, when they caught us, they hit us, hit us very hard; they killed so many people. So we kept on running,” young Juma said.
“Our houses have been demolished, churches have been demolished. We still don’t understand what they want.”
Some say that this war is very costly because seeing the military arsenal exhibited by Rwanda makes one’s eyes wide with astonishment. Rwanda uses the armored tanks that few or no African countries have as well as the very expensive “drones” that it bought in Turkey. But this war has also begun to cause casualties in the ranks of Rwandan soldiers.
According to Colonel Ronald Rwivanga, spokesman for the Rwandan Defense Forces, the Rwandan army has killed more than 100 rebels since their arrival.
“The enemy lost more than 100 people, these are the ones we saw with our eyes but there are also bodies that were evacuated, so we don’t know the exact number of those they lost.” “Unfortunately, we too have lost four people since our engagement,” Rwivanga continued.
Why did Rwanda go there?
The deployment of Rwandan troops in Mozambique has been the subject of much speculation and some reluctance within SADC/SADC; some wondered how Rwanda interferes in a conflict in a country thousands of kilometers away. Some sources report that Rwanda would be in Mozambique for purely mercantile reasons, thus it would be a proxy for France in Mozambique to protect the gas site of the French world oil giant TotalEnergy which has already invested billions of euros in the Cabo Delgado province.
Thus, continuing to wonder who will pay for the intervention would be an open secret. Also, it proves futile to continue speculations especially since the French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Rwanda, clearly stated that he has, with Rwanda, 3 major projects namely that of the Central African Republic, that of Congo Kinshasa and that of Mozambique. So no one would be surprised to see that 2 months after the incessant meetings of Kagame, Nyusi and Macron in Kigali and Paris, Rwanda is in Mozambique.
But on the point of funding of the intervention, Rwanda has constantly reiterated that “The deployment is based on good relations between the Republic of Rwanda and Mozambique, following the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement in 2018 and is based on the will of Rwanda on the principles of protection (R2P) and the 2015 Kigali Convention on the protection of civilians”, reads the press release from Rwanda
This is what the spokesman of the Rwandan Defense Forces, Colonel Rwivanga, affirms, “We promised to go and protect civilians where there is no peace, it’s something we believe in, it’s something we’ve been through, we think we should be involved in all activities that bring security to people wherever we are called,” he said.
But some citizens in Mozambique, as well as in Rwanda, have criticized this military alliance. More than one expressed concern over the “suspicious” involvement of the Rwanda Defense Forces in this war, alongside others who expressed satisfaction.
Some see it as an act of interference by Kigali for officially hidden but already known motives because it is none other than the looting of the wealth of which Kigali is already champion. There are also others who find in this Rwandan intervention a good stage for Africans to come together and find solutions to their problems; but these critics do not fail to point out that Africa can be handicapped by financial and logistical problems because these operations are very expensive.
Regarding legality, some believe that the laws have been violated on both the Rwandan and Mozambican sides.
Dr. Christopher Kayumba, the RPD leader currently imprisoned in Rwanda, said the terms of Rwanda’s military deal with Mozambique were unclear.
The Rwandan Platform for Democracy (RPD) – which is not legally registered – asked the Rwandan Parliament if it knew the terms of the military agreement, if it had been explained to the Rwandans. Parliament has not responded, which means it has no response because it knows nothing about this military alliance.
On the question of knowing what the Rwandan legislation provides for if military cooperation would be provided for in the agreements signed, and especially on the sending of troops to another country, historian Faustin Murangwa Bismarck says that “Agreements between countries usually turn out to be international law”. These must be respected.
It is recalled that in July 2018 during the visit of President Filipe Nyusi to Kigali, the two countries signed the cooperation agreements. At a press conference the authorities spoke of five agreements. They include trade and investment facilitation (1), air travel (2), diplomatic visas (3), exchange of knowledge in science and technology and training (4) and opening of embassies (5 ).
It is clearly seen here that the two countries have not yet reached a military assistance agreement!
Put things straight
As part of the rectification of the errors committed in this joint military operation – it is said behind the scenes that the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF), has become an individual militia of Paul Kagame, which he uses to consolidate his financial empire, without inform any institution-, January 9, 2022, in Kigali, a high-level meeting was held bringing together the senior security officials of Rwanda and Mozambique to review the security situation in the province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique and the state of the counter-terrorism activities in the province, with a focus on what needs to be done in the future.
The meeting brought together senior security officials from Rwanda and Mozambique, including the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces of the two countries, General Jean Bosco Kazura and his counterpart, Admiral Joachim Rivas Mangrasse, the chief of police of the Rwanda and that of Mozambique and the Director of the National Security Service.
The meeting reviewed the achievements of the last six months during which Rwanda sent troops to Mozambique to help the country’s government restore security in Cabo Delgado, using military force to fight terrorist groups and maintain peace and security. The meeting looked at the issues that were identified and the strategies for the future.
The meeting revealed that the cooperation between the security forces of the two countries has achieved significant results in a short time and defeated Ansar Al Sunnah terrorist groups.
Terrorist groups were defeated in some parts by Rwandan Defense Forces, in Palma and Mocimboa Da Praia, in Cabo Delgado; they joined forces with Mozambican security forces to repatriate the displaced people, some of whom were evacuated from the camps where they had taken refuge and returned to their homes to continue their normal lives.
The meeting reaffirmed that the resumption of normal life in the province began with the resumption of economic activities and the resettlement of people who had fled their homes. This will be followed by assistance to Mozambican security services through training and capacity building.
RDF spokesman Colonel Rwivanga said: “What we discussed today was how to start training, our troops are training theirs, because we are determined to fight the rebels but also to build their own security forces. We are now in the process of partnering with them to build their own security forces so that in the years to come they will have the capacity to deal with this problem on their own .”
Admiral Joachim Rivas Mangrasse said: “The purpose of our visit to Rwanda is to thank the Rwandan government and to see together how we can continue to work together in the fight against terrorism in our country, in particular in the province of Cabo Delgado. [. ..] Now there is security, people have returned to their properties and commercial activities have resumed, there is peace.”
At the end of the meeting, a joint agreement was signed on Monday, January 10, 2022. This new agreement was signed on Monday in Kigali, between the Mozambican Commander-in-Chief Admiral Joachim Rivas Mangrasse and the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces de Rwandan Defense (RDF), General Jean Bosco Kazura.
Rwandan troops were deployed to Mozambique in July 2021, initially 1,000, having already reached 2,000, according to Paul KAGAME. The new agreement allows the Rwandan Defense Forces to stay in Mozambique as long as they want!
* Conclusion *
So what? This almost forced military intervention by Rwanda revealed many of the sacrosanct features of the interventions. The first thing is that these interventions are only results of a good game where tricks are played. And often these are official formalities to carry out the raids. Secondly, the great powers push the weak to cross swords to often protect their interests and take advantage of this chaos to loot. In fact, France is pushing Rwandans and Mozambicans to chase their brothers from their homes to protect their interests, so that TotalEnergy can work.
However, analysts point out that this excessive force should not be used against these young people who are rebelling against the plundering of their country’s wealth by the powers while they are languishing in misery!
The other thing is that regardless of anything, Africans always take the “Z” option without having tried the others. And finally, this intervention revealed to Rwandans the true image of their interventionist champion Paul Kagame. Kagame just wants to be powerful, he doesn’t care about Rwandans because taking billions of dollars to buy armored tanks, buy fighter planes, go to war abroad and pretend there will be no profit, so that you yourself are wondering why 40% of Rwandan children are stunted, that is the worst cynicism!
Mozambicans have to be aware and prepare for the worst with the intervention of Paul Kagame in Cabo Delgado. For more than 25 years, his Machiavellian rage has devastated the North Kivu by looting coltan and gold, but worse,spreading the machine of death with his militias. Nyusi has to know that by inviting Kagame to Mozambique, he is digging his own grave. An example is Kabila’s family, where Kagame killed the father to enthrone a child who still has snot, not knowing where he came from or where he is going. Yet SADC/SADC warned him. A well-informed man is worth two!
And finally: Rwanda settles indefinitely in Mozambique!