The military today attacked the base of the Mozambique National Resistance party, known as Renamo, in Satunjira in the central Sofala province, Fernando Mazanga, a spokesman for the group, said at a press conference today. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama was forced to take refuge in the nearby Gorongosa mountains, he said.
“Dhlakama is alive and in good health despite that attack,” he said. “The attack definitely puts to an end the Rome peace agreement and from now on we cannot assure what will happen.”
Renamo, which was once backed by the white minority governments of Rhodesia and then South Africa, fought a 15-year civil war against the Marxist Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, and has served in governments in opposition for the last two decades.
The government has this year blamed a series of attacks on public transport in central Mozambique on Renamo and has clashed with the former guerrilla group on several occasions including the last four days. Transport of coal to the coast from mines owned by Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Vale SA (VALE5) has been periodically disrupted.
Today’s attack occurred after midday and the troops used heavy artillery, Mazanga said. Cristovao Chume, a spokesman for the country’s defense ministry, said at a separate press conference that the Renamo base has been taken over by troops. No one was killed in the clashes, he said.
Talks between Frelimo and Renamo on electoral reform have repeatedly failed and elections are due next year.
Mozambique, a former colony of Portugal, is the site of the biggest natural gas discovery in a decade and plans to open a liquefied natural gas terminal in 2018 that will be the second-largest export site in the world after Ras Laffan in Qatar. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) and Eni SpA (ENI) are among companies investing in gas production in the country.
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