Published On: Thu, Dec 22nd, 2016

Zimbabwe Deploys Troops to Mozambican Border Following Suspected Provocations by Renamo

nsnbc : Zimbabwe has deployed military personnel on the border to neighboring Mozambique following a raid by suspected Renamo insurgents that resulted in the death of one person and the loss of 49 cattle.

(archives)

(archives)

The decision about the deployment of troops along the border was announced on Wednesday during a question and answer session in parliament by acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa said the two countries’ Joint Operations Command (JOC) are already on the ground meeting with a view to come up with solutions to the security threat. “It’s not the first but the second time this has happened,” he added.

“JOC Zimbabwe and JOC Mozambique have since yesterday (Tuesday) been in a meeting to see how best we can work together to ensure our people are protected. … Some of the cattle were recovered.”, he said, adding:

“There are people with their disagreements, then there are Renamo bandits. They are the ones who are armed. They tied and took away one person, people heard the sound of firearms. .. Our chiefs followed and discovered the body. As security we have deployed our security, we are protecting those in the danger zone in military sense. .. The disaster protection unit is providing food and other needs. The local government is also assisting with relocations.”

The Mozambican government has been engaged in sporadic combat with Renamo since Renamo leader Alfonso Dhlakama decided to rebuild Renamo’s armed wing in 2013. The decision coincided with the discovery of major natural gas reserves in Mozambique.

Mnangagwa said the rebels appear to be set on starting a war with the two neighbouring governments. “Renamo is trying to provoke us,” Mnangagwa concluded. He was responding to a question raised by Musikavanhu constituency member of parliament Prosper Mutseyami.

Renamo fighters (archives)

Renamo fighters (archives)

Mutseyami sought to understand how government was ensuring the safety of families in the danger zone as well as establish government assistance to those required to move from the buffer zone.

“I need to know what the government is doing to make these people don’t come again in a country with soldiers and also how it is assisting those told to vacate from the buffer zone,” the legislator has asked.

During the Mozambican civil war that ended with a peace agreement between Renamo and Frelimo in 1992, Renamo was supported by the then apartheid regime of South Africa and the then British colony Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, as well as the United States. Renamo insurgents are “used to” use Zimbabwean territory for strategic depth.

The conflict between Renamo and Frelimo during the civil war reflected the cold war between the USSR and the “west” while it today rather represents the conflict between Mozambican national interests and transnational interests who would like to see Renamo instrumentalized because of the country’s natural resources. Mozambique is set to become the world’s second-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas by the mid-2020s.

F/AK – nsnbc 21.12.2016

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