In a region with few paved roads, control of those roads is a clear military goal. Awasse junction controls all movement in the north of Cabo Delgado: one road goes west to Mueda, one road goes east to Mocimboa da Praia, and the third road goes south to Macomia and Pemba. Insurgents have controlled the junction for a year. They set up an important base and destroyed the electricity transformer station and mobile phone links there, cutting electricity and restricting phone service to Mueda, Mocimboa, Palma and Nangade. Government troops held Diaca, 10 km to the west toward Mueda, but could not retake Awasse.
Rwandan troops have now retaken Awasse. The offensive appears to have started Thursday (22 July) and was continuing yesterday (26 July). Insurgents were killed but the number has apparently been exaggerated in some reports; probably around a dozen dead. (STV, Zitamar, MediaFax, Rhula 26, 27 July)
Government holds Macomia town, but not the roads north to Mueda and Awasse. Mediafax reports a platoon of 50 Rwandan soldiers was seen moving north from Macomia toward Chai, which is the edge of the insurgent controlled zone. The next step is probably to reopen the road from Chai to Awasse. That would allow an armoured force to move on the paved road east toward Mocimboa da Praia.
The map below shows the approximate current position, with insurgents controlling the area from the green line east to the sea. Mueda is at the left of the map, Mocimboa da Praia upper right, and Macomia bottom. We assume that the Rwandan and Mozambican military will try to retake the N380 north of Chai and east of Awasse. Awasse to Mocimboa is 40 km.