Five killed in Mozambique clashes

2013-04-04 16:11
Fighters of former Mozambican rebel movement, Renamo, receive military training in Gorongosa's mountains, Mozambique. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Fighters of former Mozambican rebel movement, Renamo, receive military training in Gorongosa's mountains, Mozambique. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

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Maputo - Four police officers and an ex-rebel leader were killed in clashes in central Mozambique on Thursday, a local official said, amid renewed tensions between the government and its former civil war foes.

Members of the former rebel group Renamo attacked a police command post in the town of Muxungue, just hours after the police raided a Renamo office with tear gas and arrested 15 leaders, Chibabava district administrator Arnaldo Major told AFP.

"At three o clock in the morning, Renamo attacked the police force. The commander of the Renamo force died and four police officers," he said, adding that the rebel commander went by the name of Rasta Mazement.

"They came armed and in uniform," said Major, adding that eight police officers, one female civilian and an unknown number of Renamo supporters were wounded.

Tension between the Frelimo-led government and Renamo have peaked ahead of local elections set for November, which Renamo has threatened to disrupt.

The two groups fought a bitter 15-year civil war that resulted in the deaths of as many as one million people.

Late last year, long-time Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama set up a bush camp in the nearby Gorongosa mountains, where he began retraining former guerilla fighters.

Speaking to AFP, he threatened a return the country to war unless government met his demands for a renegotiation of the terms of the 1992 peace accord.

The government recently appears to appears to have hardened its position in the face of Renamo's threats.

"If Renamo continues to overstep the line, we will have no alternative but to take measures to guarantee calm and public order," Deputy Interior Minister Jose Mandra was quoted on Wednesday as saying by independent daily O Pais.

Read more on:    afonso dhlakama  |  mozambique  |  southern africa
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