New Zimbabwe (London)

1 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Support Unit Ready for Renamo

THE ZRP's Support Unit has started retraining troops and deploying in Chipinge District to deal with any fall-out from the deepening military tensions in neighbouring Mozambique.

Speaking in Birchenough Bridge recently the Officer Commanding Support Unit Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa said the ZRP's fighting unit was readying for any trouble from Mozambique's former rebel Renamo group.

"Let me reiterate that the re-emergence of Renamo bandits in Mozambique is a cause for concern," he said.

"This may result in negative security spillovers into Zimbabwe through our borders and as the fighting wing of the ZRP, we have to take such threats seriously. To counter these security threats, the province and Changadzi District in particular must be on a high state of preparedness.

"I have noted that you have since started to retrain your troops at Wengezi Battle Camp and I am urging you to continue carrying out these refresher courses. Much emphasis on the training curriculum must be mostly centred on weapon handling and urban warfare."

Zimbabwe sent troops to Mozambique in the 1980s as a civil war raged the neighbouring country.

The deployment was meant to secure Zimbabwe's key trade routes to the sea as well as prevent the conflict spilling over into parts of the eastern Manicaland provice.

Tensions escalated between Mozambique's Frelimo-led government and Renamo in June last year with the former rebel group saying it was ending the 1992 peace accord with the government.

Scores have died in skirmishes between Renamo militia and government forces since Renamo's leader, Afonso Dhlakama returned to a former civil war bush camp in October 2012.

Dhlakama has vowed to return the country to war unless the government agree to discuss a list of demands, including the sharing of resource wealth.

A series of political talks aimed at ending the conflict broke down after government forces attacked Dhlakama's Gorongosa stronghold last October, sending him into hiding.

But the two sides recently returned to the negotiating table, agreeing to allow observers to take part in future talks.

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