Mozambique’s Renamo Threatens End To Peace After Raid

Mozambique’s Renamo Threatens End To Peace After Raid

Mozambique’s opposition Renamo movement threatened an end to the country’s 11-year-old peace accord after government forces attacked a rebel base, BBC reports.

Government forces captured the Renamo Sathunjira base in central Mozambique, forcing its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, to flee, the report said.

About a million people were killed in the civil war in Mozambique after it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975.

Mozambique’s economy has been booming since the civil war ended.

Defense ministry spokesman Cristovao Chume said government forces had taken control of the base in response to an earlier attack on an army post by Renamo fighters.

Renamo spokesman Fernando Mazanga blamed President Armando Guebuza for the attack.

“This irresponsible attitude of the commander-in-chief of the defense and security forces puts an end to the Rome peace deal,” Mazanga said. “Peace is over in the country… The responsibility lies with the Frelimo government because they didn’t want to listen to Renamo’s grievances.”

The attack was an attempt to assassinate Dhlakama but he managed to escape, Mazanga said.

Renamo’s statement suggests that it plans to go back to war, but it has denied this in the past, said BBC’s Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo.

Mozambique’s Frelimo government has repeatedly accused Renamo of dragging the country back to war, an allegation it denies.

In April, at least five people were killed in central Mozambique after Renamo members attacked a police post.

About 300 Renamo men have remained armed since the 1992 peace accord, despite efforts to integrate them into the army or police force.

Renamo leader Dhlakama has said he needs his own personal bodyguards, and the men usually stay in his bush camp in the Gorongosa mountains.

After the civil war ended, Dhlakama moved out of the camp to live in Maputo and later in the northern Nampula province, but he returned to the mountains in 2012 saying he needed to be close to his men who were feeling ignored.

Mozambique is due to hold local elections in November, and presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013.

Guebuza’s Frelimo party has governed Mozambique since independence in 1975.

Renamo, which was formed around the same time, was backed by the white minority governments in neighboring South Africa and what is now Zimbabwe.