Mozambican opposition group Renamo said a police unit yesterday attacked its stronghold in the central Sofala Province in some of the worst armed violence since a 15-year civil war ended in 1992.
Some people were killed and wounded in the attack by the police unit, known by its Portuguese acronym FIR, in the Gorongosa area, Gilberto Chirindza, deputy head of information for the opposition party, said by mobile phone today, declining to give further information and saying a press conference will be held tomorrow. Calls to the Mozambican police weren’t answered.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to Gorongosa in October, Agence France Presse reported citing the party, which said he was readying to re-train soldiers for a possible war. His party fought against the ruling party Frelimo in the civil war.
“Reports are still coming in bit by bit, but we were attacked by FIR and our leader Afonso Dhlakama was present when the attack took place. So far that is all we know,” Alberto Masango, a Renamo official in neighboring Manica Province said by mobile phone.
Renamo, started by Rhodesian intelligence agencies to destabilize Mozambique in the 1970s and later backed by South Africa’s apartheid government, ceased fighting after peace was brokered by church groups. The party contested elections in 1994, losing to Frelimo. During Rhodesia’s own civil war rebel groups fighting the then whites-only government operated from Mozambique.
Mozambique is the site of an aluminum smelter operated by BHP Billiton while Rio Tinto Ltd. and Vale SA have coal operations in the country. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Eni SpA have discovered natural gas off its coast.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at email@example.com