The Conflict with Renamo, 1976-1992
«March 1983»

Dossier MZ-0020


1977 1978 September 1981


37. MNR Saboteur Killed by FPLM Officially Confirmed as British Officer

South African code book

Above: A South African code-book captured by the Mozambican armed forces in operations against the MNR/Renamo.

Two longish analytical pieces on the MNR and its prospects were published in March. One, a 22-page essay by the veteran South African journalist Colin Legum (1919-2003), estimated that the rebels had mobilised 5,000-6,000 men, and had established "a network of several hundred camps across the country – from the western borders of Zimbabwe and Malawi, the southern borders of South Africa and Swaziland, right across one third of the country to Nampula …" Legum adds that while there is no evidence of Portuguese mercenaries fighting in the ranks of the MNR, there are several in leadership and international-relations positions. The other text, published in the London-based newsletter Africa Confidential is headlined "A Waning MNR?", and says that the two big MNR offensives in August and November 1982 both fizzled out. This is attributed to the command effectiveness of Sebastião Mabote, who "encountered the guerrillas head on." The report is also upbeat about the impact of the thousands-strong people's militias, which it describes as "fairly successful".

Other reported events included a Renamo meeting in Geneva, chaired by Afonso Dhlakama from 3-8 March, and the killing of a television crew, including a cameraman, in Gaza. The UK's Minister of Defence, Michael Heseltine, released a letter to Denis Healey confirming that Lt. Alan Gingles was a British army officer who had entered the SADF without permission and without resigning his commission. Gingles had been killed in Mozambique while attempting to sabotage a railway line.


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 March 1983.

Zipped file image