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Rwanda Rattles Southern African Governments by Beating them to the Battlefield

A standby force from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is meant to start deploying in Mozambique’s violent Cabo Delgado province this Thursday, July 15. But as of Friday, 9 July Mozambique had still not given official clearance for the deployment.  While Mozambique stalled in signing the necessary “Status of Forces” agreement with SADC, a contingent of 1,000 Rwandan soldiers and police officers began deploying into Cabo Delgado on Friday. SADC’s deployment also seems to have been complicated by a dispute within SADC about which country should lead the SADC standby force.  It was originally supposed to be South Africa, but this now seems to be in doubt. The Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an exiled opposition party, is also not happy about Rwandan security forces deploying in Mozambique, especially ahead of SADC. It noted in a statement that Rwanda was not a member state of SADC and suggested that Rwanda’s deployment might be aimed at Rwandan political dissidents in southern Africa more than at Mozambique insurgents.