Fighting between Mozambique’s army and militia loyal to the opposition Mozambique National Resistance Army, or Renamo, has led to 58 deaths, a military official said.
The clash at Maringue in central Mozambique resulted in the deaths of 17 soldiers and 41 members of the militia, the official said, asking not to be named because the death toll hasn’t been released. The government wasn’t aware of any casualties, Manuel Mazuze, deputy national director for defense policy, said at an earlier press conference in Maputo, the capital, yesterday.
“I confirm there were clashes today but no victims to report, at least on our side,” he said.
Renamo, once backed by the white-minority governments of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, and South Africa, fought a 17-year civil war against the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, until signing a peace agreement in Rome in 1992. It has served as the main opposition party for two decades. The clashes are the worst since the signing of the peace agreement.
The army attacked Renamo’s main base on Oct. 21 after a series of attacks on public transport and a government arms depot this year led to the temporary closure of rail lines used by Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Vale SA (VALE5) to export coal. Renamo said the 1992 peace agreement was over following the attack on its base.
“We will no longer show off numbers as in no case does it make us proud,” Fernando Mazanga, a spokesman for Renamo, said when asked about the casualties. He confirmed the clashes.
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