7 November 2013

Mozambique: Renamo Escalates War, Killing 8 Soldiers & Attacking Health Post

Photo: Renamo
Renamo soldiers at training in the bush (file photo).

In a major escalation, Renamo guerrillas have launched at least four attacks this week. In the worst attack so far, 8 government soldiers were killed.

Returning to a 1980s war time tactic, for the first time they attacked a health post.

On Tuesday army vehicles in Vunduzi, east of the Gorongosa mountain, were ambushed. Verdade reports five soldiers killed in the attack and three others died in hospital. At least 18 other soldiers were injured.

AIM reports that military trucks had gone to the former Renamo base of Casa Banana on the Gorongosa mountain, now a government base, and were ambushed on return. This is the most serious Renamo attack so far. The previous worst attack was on a police post in Muxúnguè on 5 April, in which 4 police were killed.

In Canda, Nhamadzi district, Renamo guerrillas Tuesday attacked a police post and ransacked a health post, taking medicines as well as sheets and blankets. No one was injured.

Traffic on the main north-south road between the River Save and Muxungue now travels only in military convoy, and a convoy was attacked Tuesday, killing one solider and injuring three civilians.

Nhamadzi is the district of Sofala north of Gorongosa that covers the area west of the Gorongosa mountain. The main N1 road goes through Nhamadzi west of the mountain. The road through Vunduzi is a dirt road that passes on the east of the mountain but west of the Gorongosa park.

President Armando Guebuza invited Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama to Maputo for talks on Friday. But it was an invitation which was never likely to be accepted. Renamo is now convinced that the government wants to kill Dhlakama - the "Savimbi solution" - so he will be very reluctant to reveal his whereabouts on the Gorongosa mountain and travel to a place where he could be detained or killed.

Kidnapping wave continues; police arrested

At least five more people have been kidnapped recently in Maputo, and police have been arrested for being involved in the kidnappings. Three were kidnapped on Tuesday - a child in Bairro do Fomento, a Portuguese woman in Matola, and a woman in Laulane, Maputo who works for the NGO Save the Children. And the Portuguese embassy revealed that two Portuguese, an adolescent and an adult, had been kidnapped last week.

Meanwhile two police were arrested and two escaped Friday, after being involved in a kidnapping that went wrong, in which they kidnapped a driver instead of the owner of Basra Motors in Maputo. Three policemen have already been sentenced to 16 years in jail each for earlier kidnappings.

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