Fighting resumes between Renamo and Frelimo

700 Mozambicans flee to Malawi

Fighting has broken out in northern Mozambique between government troops and rebels loyal to opposition party Renamo, as reported on 27 July by the Associated Press (AP).

The fighting has caused up to 700 Mozambicans to flee to the Mwanza district of neighbouring Malawi in the last two weeks, according to official statements from both countries.

Mozambican government sources say that Renamo rebels began the fighting, launching two attacks in the northern Tete province and violating a peace deal signed in September before the presidential elections. However Renamo says that government soldiers fired first.

The peace accord between the government and the rebels followed a two-year insurgency that resulted in scores of deaths in central Mozambique and damaged the country's tourism and mining industries. 
 It also allowed Renamo rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama to come out of hiding and enter the presidential election against Filipe Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party.

Nyusi subsequently won the election – as expected – and was installed as president of Mozambique on 15 January. However Dhlakama has refused to recognise the legitimacy of the new parliament, which he claims Frelimo won through electoral fraud. Dhlakama has repeatedly threatened to create a parallel government in the north.

Frelimo and Renamo fought each other in a brutal 15-year civil war between 1977 and 1992, which claimed one million lives. After more than 20 years of peace, fighting broke out between both sides last year in northern Mozambique but was brought to an end by the peace deal in September.

Renamo accuses Frelimo, which has governed Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975, of monopolising political and economic power in a nation where more than half the population still lives in poverty, despite being one of Africa's fastest-growing ecomonies.