Renamo Rebels Invade Zimbabwe
Mozambican rebel group Renamo has recruited an unknown number of Zimbabweans to join the deadly insurgency in the neighbouring country, state officials have confirmed.
“RENAMO is recruiting youths from Zimbabwe especially along the borders,” said Hubert Magadzire Nnyanhongo, the Zanu PF member of parliament for Nyanga North on the Mozambique border.
Nyanhongo said he was concerned the Zimbabwe government of president Robert Mugabe was not taking the invasion seriously.
“I would like to know what the Ministry is going to do about it because we will not allow our youths to be recruited by RENAMO. I would like to know the measures that the Ministry of Defence is going to take in order to protect our youth from being recruited by RENAMO,” Nyanhongo said.
Buhera South Zanu PF legislator Joseph Chinotimba, whose constituency lies in the border area, said he was concerned that the government had not “taken enough steps to protect the people who live in the border areas from the attacks by RENAMO as this may lead to the destabilisation of our country.”
“There are rumours circulating in the newspapers that the RENAMO in Mozambique is now fighting a full scale war in areas within our borders. As a Government, have you taken enough steps to protect the people who live in the border areas from the attacks by RENAMO as this may lead to the destabilisation of our country?” Chinotimba said.
Defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi dismissed Chinotimba’s claims, labelling the ‘rumours’.
“Chinotimba is talking about rumours to the effect that RENAMO has started a full scale war within our borders. However, RENAMO is in Mozambique and the Government of Mozambique is responsible for correcting the wrongs done by RENAMO. Whatever problems that will face our people and if anybody disturbs the peace of Zimbabwe, we are not going to sit down and watch our people being tormented by foreign forces; we will take action and fight heavily to protect our people against such attacks. Before we take any action, we will inform this august House that we are now going on a full scale war, attacking the enemy,” Sekeramayi said.
Chinotimba said Sekeramayi did not appreciate the imminent dangers posed by the Renamo invasion.
“I am quite aware that Mozambique has its own security forces but as a nation, we have to protect the Beira Corridor because it is our life line. If it is disturbed, fuel in the country is going to be disturbed. My question is, are we waiting for an attack on the Beira corridor or we have to be proactive and protect that essential corridor?” Chinotimba said.
Zimbabwe gets the bulk of its fuel through a pipeline that runs from Harare to the Beira port on the Mozambican coast through what is commonly referred to as the Beira transport corridor.
Sekeramayi said Renamo was still a ‘Mozambican problem’ as the government in Maputo had not asked for help to fight off the rebels.
“RENAMO is fighting from Mozambique and they belong to Mozambique. It is up to the Government of Mozambique which is responsible for protecting the properties which include the Beira pipeline. If the Government feels they cannot give enough protection, they will call for assistance from Zimbabwe and definitely, we will come out guns blazing, protecting our rights,” Sekeramayi said.
Renamo, the Mozambique National Resistance Movement, has been fighting Frelimo governments on and off since the 1970s. A power-sharing agreement between Renamo leader Afonso Dlakama and the government collapsed following disputed elections, leading to the latest clashes. Zimbabwe has previously deployed troops to assist the Maputo regime after Renamo attacked the oil pipeline and destroyed rail infrastructure within the Beira corridor. However, Zimbabwe was criticized internationally for fighting a full-scale war inside Mozambique and was later forced to withdraw its forces under United Nations supervision. Tensions have remained with Renamo, whose insurgents have caused mayhem in the diamond mining areas.
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