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Mozambique's Renamo, Frelimo War Intensifies

Afonso Dhlakama in Gorongoza Renamo Moçambique
A former rebel group in Mozambique has attacked a police station, after saying it has ended a 1992 peace deal with the country's ruling party.

Authorities told VOA Portuguese to Africa on Tuesday that Renamo staged the pre-dawn attack on a station in the central town of Maringue. The town is near the group's military base.

There were no reports of casualties. The French News Agency says police officers fled from the building.

Renamo is Mozambique's main opposition party.

On Monday, the group announced it was pulling out of its peace deal with the ruling Frelimo party because government forces had captured a base where its leader was staying. Renamo said its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, managed to escape.

The government says it attacked the base in a remote region of the Gorongosa mountains in response to an assault by suspected Renamo fighters against a military unit last week.

Tension between the groups has escalated over the past year. Renamo has threatened to return to war unless the ruling party renegotiates some of the terms of the 1992 peace deal.

The U.S. Embassy in the capital, Maputo, has urged calm. In a statement Tuesday, the embassy condemned violence as a means of resolving disputes and urged the two sides to engage in dialogue.

Former Zimbabwe Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa announced early this year that Zimbabwe was ready to defend its territory if attacked by Renamo, with reports that it has already deployed troops along its borders with Mozambique.

More than one million people were killed the civil war in Mozambique and people fled to neighboring nations. There are fresh fears that some refugees will soon start flocking to Zimbabwe’s eastern border areas.

Gwinyai Albert Dzinesa, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, told VOA Studio 7 that it is going to be interesting to see how the Southern African Development Community will respond to the tense situation in Mozambique.

"Zimbabwe will definitely have no choice but to open its borders and receive people displaced by the on-going military conflict," Dzinesa added.
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