/ 21 October 2013

Renamo declares end of peace in Mozambique

Mozambique President Armando Guebuza.
Mozambique President Armando Guebuza. (AFP)

Renamo declared the end of a 1992 peace deal after forced from the Mozambican government attacked and took over their base.

"This irresponsible attitude of the commander in chief of the country's security forces signals the end of the Rome Peace Accords," said Renamo spokesperson Fernando Mazanga, referring to President Armando Guebuza.

Mozambique government forces attacked and took over the military base of the former rebel group Renamo on Monday, the defence ministry said.

"We entered Sathundjira," said defence ministry spokesperson Custodio Chume, after an operation at the base near central Mozambique's Gorongosa, which Renamo also confirmed.

Base attack
Earlier this year, Mozambique's army broke up another Renamo base of about 50 huts close to the country's main north-south highway.

Authorities claimed there were no casualties, but Renamo said it killed government soldiers and independent newspaper A Verdade also reported an unknown number of deaths citing unnamed sources.

Provincial commander Nido said gunmen from the camp killed two civilians in attacks on vehicles travelling along the highway on June 21.

At the time of those attacks Renamo denied responsibility, though it warned two days earlier it would block the road.

Simmering tensions between Renamo and the Frelimo-led government erupted in violent clashes again in April – over two decades after a bloody civil war ended.

Renamo demands more representation in the armed forces and changes to the electoral law.

Several rounds of talks between the two parties have failed. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama said he was willing to meet with Guebuza if government forces withdrew from the former rebels' base.

Soldiers had surrounded the camp in Sofala province's remote Gorongosa mountains after the June 21 attacks.

Renamo has periodically threatened a return to violence after the end of the civil war, but only began acting on its threats since Dhlakama reopened his base in October 2012.

Commentators doubt the movement, previously supported South Africa's then-apartheid government, has the resources to relaunch full-scale hostilities. – AFP