The Conflict with Renamo
1975

Dossier MZ-0020

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Introduction to the «Conflict» Series

This is the first of a series of chronologically-organised thematic pages devoted to the Mozambican government’s conflict with the armed rebel group known as the MNR [Mozambique National Resistance] and later as Renamo. This conflict, sometimes described as a civil war, lasted until October 1992, and led eventually to multi-party elections in 1994. The first few pages cover periods of a year, then a few months, and eventually, as the quantity of newspaper reports increases, a month at a time. You may navigate by using the multi-level menu at left, or by simply hopping along chronologically using the green buttons in the main part of the page. Each year or month is introduced by a short text pointing to the main features of the period covered, but users are clearly free to interpret the texts as they wish.

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The First Stirrings of Opposition to Frelimo

Organised public opposition to Frelimo's accession to power as the only legal political party in independent Mozambique really only begins in the latter part of 1976 with a concerted propaganda campaign originating from Rhodesia. The MNR, later Renamo, was founded – or rather, cobbled together – in Rhodesia in the following year, 1977. Both of the movement's early leaders, André Matsangaissa and Afonso Dhlakama, had been arrested in the mid-1970s for petty crimes.

Frelimo as a liberation movement seems to have regarded cities and towns as sinks of moral corruption, in contrast to the correctness and purity of rural life. Early attempts to 'clean up' what the party and government liked to call 'criminal elements' probably helped to create a pool of discontent from which the Rhodesians were later able to recruit members for their new movement. Certainly, women living alone, for example, tended to be regarded with suspicion.

See below for a handful of reports on some arrests and escapes, and a minor bomb incident.

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20 April 1975
Capturados reaccionários evadidos. Tempo [Lourenço Marques], no.238, 20 April 1975, p.9. The escapees were David Hong Adams (British citizen), Bernard Sidney Alliron [possibly Bernard Sidney Allison], Nicholas Heinz and Albertus Stephanus Botes (all South Africans). They had arrived in a power boat. This issue of Tempo also carried a feature article about the cleaning up of the Rua Araújo, Maputo’s red light district. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 227 kb.

11 July 1975
Mozambique: five escape. To the Point [Johannesburg], vol.4 no.28, 11 July 1975, p.49-50. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 280 kb.

15 September 1975
Pencil bombs in Lourenço Marques. Summary of World Broadcasts [London], 15 September 1975. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 110 kb.

16 September 1975
Explosive devices in Lourenço Marques. Summary of World Broadcasts [London], 16 September 1975. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 97 kb.

3 November 1975
[No title]. Daily News [Dar es Salaam], 3 November 1975. Over 3,000 men and women accused of vagrancy, drug dealing and prostitution were arrested in five cities and towns, in an operation that ‘will continue indefinitely’. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 98 kb.

18 December 1975
Clash with reactionary elements in Mozambique. Summary of World Broadcasts [London], 18 December 1975. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 34 kb.

19 December 1975
Rush to get out. To the Point [Johannesburg], 19 December 1975, p.48. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 36 kb.

20 December 1975
Subversion warning by Machel. Star [Johannesburg], 20 December 1975. Click here to view or download a PDF, size 90 kb.

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Left: Frelimo soldiers raising the new national flag of the independent People's Republic on 25 June 1975. Opposition to Frelimo was not yet organised. Below: a video clip of part of the Independence Ceremony [4 min. 22 sec.]

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