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Mozambique’s Guebuza Seeks Calm After Renewed Violence

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza called for peace after attacks that have killed at least 13 people since April.

“The country is at peace and is stable and what happened in the last days are small incidents that will not threaten the peace,” Guebuza told journalists in Maputo today during an official ceremony to mark Independence Day in the former Portuguese colony.

Passenger trains were suspended yesterday in central Mozambique after two convoys were assaulted on the EN1 freeway in the country’s center. No one was injured in the attacks that occurred between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The violence followed attacks a bus on April 6, a raid on a military weapons store on June 17, and a June 21 ambush of a passenger bus and a truck. The government has blamed the raids on the Mozambican National Resistance, an opposition group known as Renamo, which fought a 15-year war against the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique that ended in 1992. The party last year said it may resume the conflict and complained that elections in 2009, won by Frelimo, were unfair.

Jeronimo Malagueta, Renamo’s spokesman, on June 19 said his party wasn’t responsible for the violence. He was arrested a day later.

Bishops from Mozambique’s Catholic church asked Guebuza to meet with Renamo’s leader Afonso Dhlakama, who’s based in Gorongosa mountains, for talks to end the tensions.

Dhlakama ‘Hiding’

“I never refused to meet Dhlakama, but he is always hiding away,” Guebuza said when asked about his readiness to meet Renamo’s leader.

Mozambique’s state-owned railway CFM will reduce the speed of trains using the Sena Line, which is used by Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA to transport coal from the Moatize mines to Beira port, after Renamo said it would disrupt the route, Candido Jone, head of Beira regional railways, said on Maputo-based broadcaster Miramar.

Vale Mozambique is watching the developments in the region, according to an e-mailed statement.

“We are alert, observing events, avoiding unnecessary exposure in areas of possible clashes,” the company said.

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