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Published: November 5, 2013
Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean army has increased its watchful eye on the border with Mozambique after the 21 year old peace agreement in the neighboring country crumbled in the last week. Recent increasing negative developments have caused panic in Zimbabwe’s security forces.
Mozambique attained independence from Portugal in 1975. Two years later a protracted civil war began. This war ended after the signing of a peace agreement in 1992 between Renamo and Frelimo armed forces. In 1993 approximately 1.5 million Mozambicans who had been refugees during the civil war returned from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. In 2012 Afonso Dhlakama, Renamo’s Rebel Commander went into hiding in the mountains of northern Mozambique after claims Frelimo rigged the elections.
The Mozambican military invaded Dhlakama’s jungle hideout on October 21, 2013 and seized it.
The latest tensions in Mozambique broke out last Tuesday in Caramaja in Nampula province, about 998km Northwest of Mutare, when RENAMO guerrillas shot dead two people during an ambush. Another surprise attack followed this one killing one civilian an injuring another.
The Mozambican Government led by President Armando Guebuza has denounced these actions by Renamo as terrorist actions. The latest fighting has resulted in an estimated 60 fatalities.
However, reports of escalation of hostilities have been Mozambique and Zimbabwe were quickly quelled by Defence Minister, Dr Sidney Tigere Sekeramayi. Sekeramayi told state media outlets that Mozambique’s stability is of particular concern to Zimbabwe due to the Beira pipeline and Railway that connects Zimbabwe to the Port in Beira.
Sekeramayi also stated that Zimbabwe had not been asked for military assistance by Mozambique.
While Mozambique’s internal strife was not expected to spill into neighbouring Zimbabwe, military patrols on the border have reportedly increased suggesting a tension neither side wants to admit.
A war in Mozambique could cause a catastrophic humanitarian disaster for Zimbabwe which is facing a food crisis for almost 2.2milion of its citizens.