Mozambique : 12 Dead In Road Attacks

Travel Warning: Recent killings of travellers in the central region of Mozambique cause for concern.

Talk of war has returned to Mozambican politics - and so have the attacks. Recent activity in the central Sofala province should be noted if travel on the EN 1 between north and south is considered.

The marginalisation of the former liberation movement RENAMO from economic and political participation over the last twenty years has led to the almost complete disintegration of the movement as a political party - something it never was and never will be. Although it is represented in Parliament for all intends and purposes it might as well not exist, so little and ineffective is its influence.

A disillusioned president of the organisation, Afonso Dhlakama, has been distancing himself from party politics for the last ten years and has in effect "gone back to the bush" in a late life attempt at righting the wrongs that were imposed on him by the West shortly before the "peace accord" was signed some two decades ago. Over the last few years he has rebuilt a core group of fighters and reopened his centre of operations in the bush.

Frelimo, the ruling party, delights in ridiculing Dhlakama and completely dismisses his claims that he can return the country to war. The Western media, accustomed to the government's narrative, plays along with it.

The facts on the ground show a very different story. There is a distinct return to lawlessness; both political and social in origin.

Here are three examples, from this month alone;

The government of Zimbabwe has reinforced its Eastern border after several settlements were raided recently by armed bandits from Mozambique. The Zimbabwean military claim that these elements were Renamo guerrillas. It is quite possible - even probable.

Earlier this month the Mozambican police arrested fifteen Renamo members that were conducting military drills in a public square. Within an hour of the arrests the police station housing the prisoners had come under attack by Renamo fighters; four policemen and three Renamo fighters died before a stand-off was negotiated down.

Over the last two weeks twelve civilians have been murdered on the roads around Muxungué as a result of attacks on vehicles by armed bandits. The attacks took place some 100km south west of the major port of Beira. The government has accused Renamo of conducting these attacks. Renamo has denied having had anything to do with it stating that it has nothing to gain by attacking civilians.

Renamo analysts believe that what we are witnessing is a return of the Spontaneous Groups of Resistance (SGR) phenomenon. These groups were generally referred to as bandidos armados (armed bandits) during the Civil War, for that is exactly what they were - and are. Armed bandits are not a military phenomenon; they are a social phenomenon - the result of poverty, hopelessness and despair. Bandits as they are by necessity, these groups tend to identify with anti-government ideologies; frequently with Renamo. Does that make them Renamo? Perhaps. It did in the Civil War.

An SGR is most frequently also an autonomous group of resistance; it has no association or connection with any official central structure - it simply identifies with the contra ideology and flies its flag to outwardly justify the cruel crimes it commits to sustain itself.

It is both pointless and stupid to blame Dhlakama for the criminality of SGRs. It is equally stupid to believe that the Mozambique government has the army or the resources to stop these attacks.

Twenty years of peace has brought nothing but poverty, hardship and misery to the vast majority of the country's population, whilst a handful of "political" Mafiosi fatten their offshore accounts serving the needs of their quasi-colonial global corporate masters.

The security situation is deteriorating rapidly in Mozambique - but it has nothing to do with Renamo and has everything to do with Frelimo.

Elections - slated for 2014 - are of no significance to the greater population. Elections in Mozambique are a Mafia lottery where the less gifted but well connected are awarded positions of nominal power and slices of corrupt cake. Nothing will change, other than the identity of some of the thieves.

It's a new war; same as the old war.

A Luta Continua ...

Avoid travel in the following area;

Jacinto Vela
Maputo, 2013
(Translation by A.Soares)