The Ultimate Mission

According to recent news, a combined engagement of Mozambican armed forces with freshly arrived Rwandan military contingent managed to dislodge the Islamic radical rebels from key strategic positions in Mocimboa da Praia , the capital of the Northern district of Cabo Delgado.

The Rwandan contingent virtually hit the ground running with great success in the first clash with the Islamic guerrilla movement that has been causing mayhem in northern Mozambique.

Other African nations are joining the drive to eradicate terrorism in Cabo Delgado.

There is also the assurance of military support from Angola and lately from South Africa.

Notwithstanding the serious homeland security and economic problem that the country itself is facing, South Africa has pledged to deploy in the fight against guerrillas in their neighbor country a military force of one thousand men, that will cost about one billion rand just for a three-month assignment.

Looking at the nature of such unconventional war and the past insurgent conflict history, that took place in exactly the same region, it seems too optimistic to expect an encouraging outcome of such military operations.

During the war of independence, Portugal deployed over fifty thousand troops in Mozambique for more than ten years to engage Frelimo fighters, mostly in the northern provinces of Nassau and Cabo Delgado.

The Portuguese armed forces’ presence was set up through an extensive grid of strategic military outposts in the two provinces, that protected most towns and villages or key rail and road networks.

Although no considerable military achievements were accomplished by the freedom fighters, the motivation to pursue the war was more powerful than the troops that were deployed from far afield to oppose them.

Just across the Rovuma River border, the Tanzania training camps kept on infiltrating an unrelenting supply chain of soldiers and provisions.

It was a war of no winners for the sacrificed local populations, nor for the bush fighters and conscripted Portuguese soldiers.

The history of battles, of a war of more than fifty years ago, repeats itself in the same remote locations and distant paths of gravel roads of Northern Mozambique.

The outcome of the nowadays ultimate mission remains problematic, with the renewal of the people’s anguish and the desolation of the land inflicted by the war.

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