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Filling the vacuum

Rwandan forces have done more for the reconstruction of Cabo Delgado province than the Mozambican state has managed in recent years

Rwandan troops give schoolchildren books in Mocímboa da Praia, June 2024

Good afternoon. Ever since Rwandan troops moved into Cabo Delgado province to help fight the insurgency there, there has been grumbling from some parts of the Mozambican media about their role and the supposed improper benefits Rwanda has been getting as a result. So it is that broadcaster Zumbo FM has reported that some locals in the town of Mocímboa da Praia have questioned why the Rwandan troops built a market there, when they were supposed to be there to provide security (see below).

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The latest from Zitamar News:

Rwandan largesse feeds rivalry with Mozambican military in Mocímboa da Praia
Rwandan military stationed in the town of Mocímboa da Praia have built a new market, rehabilitated a primary school, and donated equipment to local fishermen — provoking discontent among the Mozambican military stationed alongside them

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

Zitamar Mozambique Live Blog in Zitamar News Discussion
A note from ACLED regarding Upcoming Changes to Cabo Ligado We would like to start by thanking everyone here for your interest in the Cabo Ligado Conflict Observatory. As of June 30, the grant that funds this project from the European Commission has concluded. This generous grant has been instrumental in sustaining Cabo Ligado’s operations, a collaboration between Zitamar News, and Mediacoop. The Cabo Ligado observatory has become a crucial source of information for our users who depend on our outputs for their work. As we enter a new phase of the project, we are actively fundraising to ensure the continuation of the Cabo Ligado observatory. While we pursue new funding to maintain Cabo Ligado, ACLED will continue to produce our weekly data on Mozambique, maintain the core dashboard, streamline the Community Reporters (CRs) network, and publish fortnightly updates, but will be halting any other activities, including monthly reports, recruiting additional CRs, updating existing and adding new actor profiles, and producing A Voz podcast episodes. We will continue to host the following resources until December 2024, at which point they will need to end as well if we are not able to secure additional funding: Fortnightly Updates: We will continue publishing updates every two weeks, focusing on trends and dynamics around political violence and demonstrations in Cabo Delgado. Data Dashboard: Our interactive data dashboard will be updated weekly to feature key statistics, including a timeline of political violence events, a map of violent incidents in the country, a bar chart spotlighting conflict actors, and detailed event information. Data Collection and Verification by Community Reporters: We will continue data collection and verification through our network of Community Reporters across Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Niassa provinces, but will take measures to streamline the CR network and halt new recruitments. Zitamar News will also continue to publish breaking news from the conflict for its subscribers. We hope our products continue to have a significant impact on the vital work being done by our users on Mozambique. If your organization, or any you know of, may be interested in supporting the maintenance and expansion of Cabo Ligado’s activities, please reach out to our Head of Grants & Development, Matt Fluegel-Carew ( We have exciting plans to further enhance Cabo Ligado, improving our data, tools, and analysis on Mozambique. Additional funding will significantly contribute to the continued success and growth of Cabo Ligado’s efforts. Thank you for your continued support and understanding during this transitional period. Warm regards, The Cabo Ligado Team

In fact, as Zitamar reports today, public opinion in Mocímboa seems to be overwhelmingly in support of the Rwandan presence and the social work it has done, and even if some street traders were opposed to using the market, we understand that it is now occupied and being used. As well as a market, the Rwandans have also provided Mocímboa with a new school. The context for this is of course that much of Mocímboa’s public infrastructure was destroyed when it was occupied by insurgents in 2020-21, before being recaptured with Rwandan help. In addition, Rwandan forces are supplying health services in the areas they occupy, in the districts of Mocímboa da Praia, Palma and Ancuabe. This is all part of a strategy to win over the local population, something that Mozambican security forces, who (unlike the Rwandans) do not speak local languages and who are accused of brutality and extortion, have failed to do.

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