Rwanda a major contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping force on Friday started airlifting a thousand troops to Mozambique to help the country battle extremist militants wreaking havoc in the north of the gas-rich nation.
Islamic State-linked jihadists have been terrorising Cabo Delgado province since late 2017, stoking fears that the violence could spill over into neighbouring countries.
“The government of Rwanda, at the request of the government of Mozambique, will today start the deployment of a 1,000-person contingent of the Rwanda Defence Force and the Rwanda National Police to Cabo Delgado Province,” Kigali said in a statement.
The forces will “support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform”, it added.
According to the statement from Kigali, the Rwandan contingent will work with the Mozambique Armed Defence Forces and those from SADC “in designated sectors of responsibility.”
Last month Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, vowed to crush the militants with the help of regional allies. His tough stance followed a decision by regional bloc the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to send forces to help quell the insurgency.