Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, stated yesterday that the military support for Mozambique to stabilise Cabo Delgado is fully supported by Rwanda’s own resources, denying having financiers such as France or oil company TotalEnergies.
“Thus far, we have been using our own means. We have decent resources and we are happy to share. There is no one financing us”, said Paul Kagame in an interview with RBA public television station RBA.
The head of state was responding to a question about possible financing coming from France or its national oil company TotalEnergies, a question which has been raised by several analysts, when taking into account the considerable investment in Cabo Delgado for natural gas extraction, interrupted in March due to the insurgency in northern Mozambique.
It is the largest private investment in Africa today, worth upwards of US$20 billion.
“There is no one sponsoring us. I say this in front of the finance minister: he knows how much [the intervention] is costing us. But I think the results are worth more than the money itself,” he added.
Rwanda’s rapid response has also raised questions – deploying troops ahead of the joint Southern African Development Community (SADC) force – leading Kagame to retort:
“There’s a neighbour with a burning house and the one who arrives first is asked: why were you so quick to put the fire out? (…).”
The head of state highlighted the fact that there are other oil companies involved in investments in natural gas and, on the other hand, he also justified himself with the presence of Rwandans among the “terrorists” present in Cabo Delgado – but without further details.
The Rwandan president hopes that investors in gas extraction “come back to work, because it means a lot for Mozambique,” he said, adding that “after the mission [by the military] and the region is secure,” a “new assessment” will be made. and the objectives will be adjusted “according to the intentions of Mozambique”.
In response to another question, he specified that, so far, the forces deployed by Rwanda are sufficient – and that there is a growing involvement of other partners, namely SADC with a joint multi-country force on the ground.
“Our mission is not linked to resources or other things, it is just to make the area safe” and thus support Mozambique, because “there is a lot to do, one partner is not enough”, given the degree of destruction in Cabo Delgado, he concluded .
Rwanda is the fifth-largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, with a total of about 5,100 elements.
Bilaterally, it has since the beginning of July about a thousand soldiers and police in Cabo Delgado to support Mozambique. Rwanda actually took action before the joint SADC force made its decision to send troops – which last Friday were announced to be fully operational.
In early August, the Rwandan military and Mozambican forces reconquered the town of Mocímboa da Praia, district headquarters, considered by many to be the “base” of insurgent groups that have been carrying out armed attacks in Cabo Delgado since 2017.