3 December 2012

Mozambique: Troops Keep Watchful Eye On Border With Mozambique

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces last week deployed troops along the Mozambican frontier to halt possible incursions by the resurgent Renamo rebels, led by opposition leader Alfonso Dhlakama.

Army units have been stationed along more than 1,000km of the eastern border with Mozambique as a precaution over military instability emanating from the uprising by Dhlakama's troops.

Dhlakama is the leader and commander in chief of the Mozambican opposition party and rebel movement Renamo. He said last month that his dissident army was keen to wage war and destroy Mozambique, unless the government there met his demands, which include political reforms and a revision of the 1992 peace accord.

Media reports in the past weeks suggest there are fears that Dhlakama's troops could terrorise Zimbabwean citizens in the Manicaland border province with Mozambique. Concerns have also been raised over the possibility that the troops could attack facilities like the Feruka oil pipeline. The 287km- ng pipeline stretches from Beira in Mozambique to the Feruka oil refinery outside Mutare.

Dhlakama and his nearly 800 troops are camped at the Casa Banana base on the foot of Mount Gorongossa.

Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party government fought a bitter civil war which raged from 1977 and ended with the signing of the Rome Peace Accord in 1992. The accord led to the formation of a unity government.

In terms of the agreement political leaders were to share government posts equitably, while all former combatants who were not demobilised were to be integrated into the police and the armed forces.

Dhlakama and his Renamo insist that the Freelimo government has not ever tried to honour this agreement and its members say they also want a bigger share of Mozambique's expected coal and gas profits, plus an overhaul of the electoral system to prevent alleged fraud.

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