Athuman Kilaye

TANZANIA’S military troops deployed to Mozambique – alongside other armed forces to help fight Islamic insurgence have succeeded to recapture a strategic area of Mocimboa da Praia.

It has been confirmed that the troops have helped Mozambique’s army to recuperate the area, which has been under Islamic insurgents for more than a year.

That military mission, under the functions of the African Union (AU), is based in the area of Pemba, the provincial capital.

Apart from Tanzania’s military intelligence, there are also troops from Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Lesotho. Zimbabwe has also sent troops but only to help train Mozambique’s armed forces, not to take part in combat operations.

The insurgents in Mozambique have been ‘disturbing” peace and tranquillity in some areas of southern Tanzania.

The joint operations in Mozambican have succeeded in forcing the insurgents to retreat “from the zones where they have exerted relative influence,” Mozambican colonel Omar Saranga told a press conference last week.

The joint force has taken control of public and private buildings in Mocímboa da Praia including local government offices, the port, the airport, the hospital, markets and restaurants, Saranga said. The port is key to transporting supplies to other parts of Cabo Delgado province, including the liquified natural gas project.

More than 3,000 Mozambicans have been killed and 800,000 people displaced by the four-year insurgency. Nearly one million people need urgent food aid as a result of the conflict, according to the U.N. World Food Program.

Earlier this year the insurgents, loosely allied to the Islamic State group, forced the French energy firm Total to pull out of its $20 billion liquified natural gas project near Palma, further north on the Indian Ocean coastline. The project is now relocating to Tanzania.

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