Mozambique govt muted on ex-rebel threats

2013-06-20 20:41
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 - Mozambique's government said it was still open to talks with former civil war rebels Thursday, despite their vow to launch a campaign to sabotage key infrastructure.

"The government reiterates its availability to meet with Renamo on 24 June," the cabinet said in a statement without referring to Renamo's threats.

Official opposition and ex-rebel movement Renamo on Wednesday said it would block the country's main highway and a crucial rail link to coal fields.

Six rounds of peace talks between Renamo and the Frelimo-led government have failed to cool testy relations between the former foes, who fought a brutal 16 year civil war, which ended in 1992.

Violence erupted again this year after Renamo remilitarised and set up a base in central Mozambique.

On Monday attackers killed five soldiers and wounded two in a raid on a military armoury.

Renamo denied responsibility.

On Thursday police and state media reported no sign of the party's announced sabotage of key transport routes.

"The police are patrolling all along the national road and people are circulating normally," national police spokesperson Pedro Cossa told AFP in Maputo.

Normal

He said no special police patrol had been put in place.

Renamo had said guerrillas would stop cars trying to enter a 100km stretch between the Save River and the town of Muxungue in central Mozambique.

This is the same stretch of road where gunmen ambushed buses and cars in March, killing three civilians following a gun battle between Renamo forces and the police in Muxungwe.

Earlier on Thursday motorists using national road EN1 were afraid to enter the area, waiting anxiously for reassurance that the road was clear, according to the state-controlled Radio Mozambique.

However, by midday road traffic was circulating normally again.

Trains also kept transporting coal from the north eastern Tete province along the Sena railway line to Indian Ocean port Beira, reported Radio Mozambique.

Renamo's leader Afonso Dhlakama, is holed up in the camp in the Gorongosa mountains.

Their planned offensive, they said, was also aimed at weakening the logistics of those in power.

Analysts say Renamo's threats of violence may be a tactic to secure more concessions from the government ahead of elections next year.

Neither party has pulled out of a series of political negotiations held since May to resolve their differences.

Read more on:    renamo  |  afonso dhlakama  |  mozambique  |  southern africa
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