image sourceReutersimage captionLast month, Rwanda sent 1,000 soldiers to Mozambique to fight the militants

Rwandan and Mozambican troops have retaken a key port city from Islamist militants in northern Mozambique, the Rwandan military says.

It says Mocímboa da Praia was the rebels' last stronghold. It is located in Cabo Delgado province, home to one of Africa's biggest gas fields.

The insurgents have not yet commented.

Last month, Rwanda sent 1,000 soldiers to Mozambique to fight the militants, who launched an insurgency in 2017.

More than 3,000 people have been killed and 820,000 displaced during the conflict.

The Mozambican armed force have been struggling to regain control of Cabo Degaldo province.

"The port city of Mocímboa da Praia , a major stronghold of the insurgency for more than two years has been captured by Rwandan and Mozambican security forces," the Rwanda Defence Force tweeted on Sunday.

Force spokesman Col Ronald Rwivanga later told the AFP news agency that the port "was the last stronghold of the insurgents, marking the end of the first phase of counter-insurgency operations".

"We will continue with security operations to completely pacify those areas," the spokesman added, voicing hopes that the displaced people would soon be able to return to their homes.

Troops from the southern African regional bloc, Sadc, are also being deployed in Mozambique.

The Mozambican government was previously reluctant to accept foreign military help, but it now appears to realise it cannot win the fight alone, the BBC's Africa editor Mary Harper says.

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