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Recent reports pointing to the presence of Russian troops in the northern province of Cabo Delgado are “false,” the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Mozambique stated on Tuesday.
“The information is false because Russian troops are not in Mozambique,” reads a statement from the Russian diplomatic mission in Maputo, in response to questions posed by Lusa.
In recent weeks, texts have been circulating on the internet reporting an alleged military Russian presence in Cabo Delgado aimed at supporting the fight against a wave of armed attacks affecting the region for the last two years.
Meanwhile, Mozambican Deputy Minister of Defence, Patrício José, in statements to Lusa on Tuesday, neither confirmed nor denied these indications, saying that Mozambique holds “consultations” with several defence partners.
“This is normal Armed Forces’ work. We consult this one, consult that other one,” added Patrício José.
The Russian embassy, in its response to Lusa, not only denies the presence of military personnel on the ground, but also any alleged links it could possibly have with the President’s visit to Russia last month .
Between the two governments [Russia and Mozambique], “a general cooperation agreement between the ministries of Home Affairs of the two countries was sealed,” the note said.
None of these legal instruments [signed during the President’s visit to Russia] includes sending troops to Mozambique, the Russian embassy said.
The same note further stated that the deployment of units of the Russian armed forces abroad requires “the invitation of the partner State,” the signing of the respective agreements and still “the approval of the upper house of the Russian Federation Parliament, as in the case of Syria”.
Therefore, the mentioned reports “seem to deliberately distort the true essence of Russian-Mozambican technical-military cooperation,” the document reads.
According to figures collected by Lusa, the wave of violence in Cabo Delgado has, since 2017, caused the deaths of at least 200 people, including residents, alleged perpetrators and members of the security forces.
The attacks occur in the region where natural gas exploitation works are to be located in coming years.
The jihadist ‘Islamic State’ group first announced in June that it was associated with one of the attacks, butthe Police of the Republic of Mozambique said at the time that the alleged connection was not credible.
— Eric Morier-Genoud (@emorier) September 12, 2019
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