The Conflict with Renamo, 1976-1992
«May 1982»

Dossier MZ-0020


1977 1978 September 1981


27. John Burlison Set Free in Zimbabwe;
MNR Aims to Disrupt the 1982 Harvest

Armed militiawoman

Above: Women were armed and enrolled into militia units in various parts of the country as the conflict spread to all provinces. It remains unclear how effective the militias actually were, despite occasional newspaper reports that they had captured an "armed bandit" in one place, or killed another one, somewhere else.

John Burlison, a 28-year-old British ecologist who had been abducted by the MNR in Gorongosa in December 1981 was released unharmed inside Zimbabwe. In an interview, Burlison estimated that he had probably marched around 500 miles (800 km.) altogether while in captivity. He said that food, provided by local villagers, was plentiful, with vegetables and beef or goat meat served most evenings.

A shift in MNR strategy was detectable, as the rebels abandoned any pretence of creating zones under their administrative control and began to attempt to disrupt the harvest on which the rural population depended for survival. According to a report by Joseph Hanlon, in Gorongosa alone, seven communal villages, three agricultural cooperatives, a state farm, and all 31 health posts and primary schools had been destroyed since the end of 1981.

In a speech in Nampula, Maj.-Gen. Eduardo Nihia said that the appointment of provincial military commanders was intended to strengthen the army leadership and to prepare the whole population for the struggle against the armed bandits, financed by and under the direction of South Africa. Meanwhile, press reports in both Tempo news-magazine and the daily paper Notícias focused on the situation in Mabote, a district in central Inhambane.


Consolidated Downloadable Zipped Files

Click on the yellow folder image below to download an unsorted zipped archive of documents and press clippings in PDF format concerning the armed conflict between Renamo/MNR and the Mozambican government in May 1982.

Zipped file image