Renamo vows campaign of sabotage

2013-06-19 20:07
Afonso Dhlakama (Picture: AFP)

Afonso Dhlakama (Picture: AFP)

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Maputo - Mozambique's former rebels on Wednesday vowed to block the country's main highway and a crucial rail link to the country's coal fields, dramatically ramping up its standoff with the government.

"Starting on Thursday, 20 June, 2013, actions will be taken to weaken the logistics of those who make Mozambicans suffer," Renamo's information chief, Jeronimo Malagueta told reporters in Maputo.

Until 1992, Renamo fought a bitter 16-year civil war with Frelimo, which now forms the government.

Mozambique's new found energy and mineral wealth has rekindled animosity between the two parties, with Renamo accusing their foes of hording wealth.

Renamo also accuses the government of amassing military personnel around the bush-camp where its leader, Afonso Dhlakama has been living since late last year.

Malagueta said the opposition's actions would target infrastructure in an offensive across the central Sofala province, Renamo's traditional stronghold.

One of the targets of Thursday's promised offensive is the only railway line transporting coal between Moatize and the coastal city of Beira.

"Renamo will... paralyse the movement of trains of the railway between Beira-Moatize and Beira-Morromeu," Malagueta warned.

The group also said it intended to block traffic on the main EN1 road which links northern and southern Mozambique.

"Renamo will position itself to stop the circulation of vehicles transporting people and goods, because the government uses these vehicles to transport plain clothed arms and soldiers."

"The government doesn't give us any other option. Renamo is encircled. We are going to lose our leader," said Malagueta.

Renamo's declaration comes after Mozambique's government fingered the ex-guerrillas for a raid on a munitions compound in the central Sofala province in the early hours of Monday morning. At last five soldiers died in the attack.

It is not clear how many weapons the attackers managed to make away with during the raid.

"The attack on the depot of Savane has nothing to do with Renamo's forces of defence and security," said Malagueta.

He suggested instead that "general discontent... might have driven other Mozambicans to resort to arms to dislodge this government".

While it threatened a military offensive, Renamo said it still intends to turn up to another round of political dialogue planned with the Frelimo-led government next Monday.

Six previous rounds of talks have failed to yield a breakthrough on any of the major issues on the table, including Renamo's threat to boycott upcoming polls if the election law is not amended.

Read more on:    frelimo  |  renamo  |  mozambique  |  southern africa

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