KIGALI, Rwanda

The Rwandan and Mozambican forces fighting in the northern restive Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique have recaptured more territories from the rebels, authorities announced on Monday.

In a statement, the Rwandan Defense Ministry said the joint forces captured Nhica do Ruvuma and Pundanhar areas, located west of the Palma district, which the rebels were using as a hideout.

In the most recent operations against the insurgents, 17 civilians, including women and children, were rescued while two terrorists were killed and two others captured, the statement said.

The insurgents fled towards the Muidube district inside the area managed by the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), the statement added.

According to Brig. Gen. P Muhizi, the task force battle group commander, the rebels have “seriously been weakened by the joint forces.”

The southern African nation of Mozambique has been battling an armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado province since 2017, which analysts attribute to the wider socio-economic and political disparity.

The insurgency has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced scores of others.

Last July, Rwanda deployed up to 1,000 troops to Mozambique who managed to drive insurgents out of the town of Mocimboa da Praia.

The 16-nation Southern African Development Community also deployed a military force to Mozambique to help the government combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism.

The region has suffered fewer attacks since the deployment of more than 3,100 foreign troops last year, according to President Filipe Nyusi.

David Matsinhe, a southern African researcher for Amnesty International, believes there are legitimate grievances in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province which have helped sustain violence over the years.

According to his research, a lack of investment in education for more than four decades left especially young people without skills, rendering them not only unemployed but also unemployable in the province’s growing mining and gas industry.

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