Rwanda Defence Force says retakes strategic Mozambican town from insurgents

The unrest escalated as insurgents, linked to Islamic State, seized entire towns

  

JOHANNESBURG- Rwandan and Mozambican security forces have recaptured the port town of Mocimboa da Praia, an insurgents' stronghold, Rwanda Defence Force said on Sunday.

Mozambique's northern-most province of Cabo Delgado, which has gas developments worth some $60 billion, has since 2017 harboured an Islamist insurgency.

The unrest escalated as insurgents, linked to Islamic State, seized entire towns, including the strategically important Mocimboa da Praia. 

Last month, the Rwandan government deployed a 1,000-strong force to Mozambique to fight alongside Mozambique's forces and troops of the 16-member Southern African Development Community (SADC). 

Mocimboa da Praia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of the gas projects, previously served as the main airport for international workers flying into the gas developments and its port is used for cargo deliveries.

The Rwandan defence force relayed news the town was recaptured in a twitter post without giving further details. Mozambique's Defence Ministry said a press briefing will be held at 1400 GMT.

Almost 800,000 people have been displaced in Cabo Delgado and the fighting has brought a $20 billion natural gas project led by oil giant Total to a halt.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Barbara Lewis) ((nqobile.dludla@thomsonreuters.com; +27103461066;))


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