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Army Deployment Near Mozambique Worries Tsvangirai's Party

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it is seriously concerned that some army generals aligned to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party may abuse troops that have been reportedly deployed along the border with Mozambique ahead of crucial elections expected next year.

Reports indicate that Zimbabwe has been secretly deploying troops into areas bordering Mozambique in anticipation of a civil war in the neighboring country where former RENAMO rebels have threatened to go back to the bush if their demands are not met by their government.

At the end of October, former Mozambican rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama, along with 800 of his former guerrillas, decamped to his former base near the Gorongosa Game Park between Sofala and Manica provinces.

The MDC said in a statement that it is crucial to defend the country against RENAMO but cautions that “some desperate army bosses who are an extension of Zane PF must not take any advantage of the situation and send partisan soldiers to campaign for Zane PF and harass innocent civilians perceived to be MDC supporters.”

Efforts to get a comment from Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were futile as he was said to be in a meeting.

Zimbabwe, which has strategic business interests in Mozambique, once helped Maputo fight RENAMO between 1985 and 1992.

Regional security experts doubt, however, that RENAMO has the capacity to launch another guerilla war.

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya, a Phd candidate at Westminster University in London, said Zimbabwean troops must be professional.
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