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Women on Africa’s Frontline

A small contingent of female naval soldiers in the Rwanda Defence Force have been fighting alongside their male counterparts to push back against rebels allied with the Islamic State group in northern Mozambique. They forced the rebels to withdraw into remote areas and break up into smaller groups. Lt. Yvonne Umwiza, who leads a Rwandan speed boat unit, said that women were treated no differently to men in the mixed units. “There are no specific challenges here in Cabo Delgado for us as female soldiers,” she said. “We face the same problems as men and we are very well trained to perform our duties.”