Cabo Delgado is paradoxically both one of Mozambique’s poorest provinces, but also one of its most resource-rich, and the explosive mix has helped drive more than one insurgent movement, including the FRELIMO liberation front that won the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975.
Thousands of troops have begun pouring into Mozambique from several other African nations to help Maputo fight Islamist rebels in the country’s north. However, rather than spelling the beginning of the end for Ansar as-Sunna, some experts are warning the conflict could be entering an even more dangerous phase.
The announcement comes after several other partners also announced troops were on the way. On Tuesday, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi bade farewell to the first 70 of 296 soldiers sent to Mozambique, and the Angolan National Assembly approved a small deployment of 20 military personnel to begin next month.
The troops will be arriving in the wake of 1,000 Rwandan soldiers sent earlier this month. The Central African nation isn’t part of SADC and its deployment was arranged separately with Maputo. European Union troops are also expected to soon arrive.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi hailed SADC for sending aid, which he resisted seeking for months amid hesitation to welcome foreign troops onto Mozambican soil.
Maputo’s ability to fight the insurgency itself is severely hamstrung by the tight financial constraints placed on it by the International Monetary Fund as a…