The Conflict with Renamo, 1976-1992
«September 1985»

Dossier MZ-0020


1977 1978 September 1981


67. Mozambique-Zimbabwe Joint Operation Captures Renamo's "Casa Banana" HQ

Samora lifting elephant tusk at Casa Banana

Above: The smuggling of such commodities as ivory and rhino horn was one of Renamo's important sources of income. In the picture, taken at Gorongosa's Casa Banana base after its capture, President Samora Machel is seen hefting a large elephant tusk. Click here for a gallery of other pictures taken during Machel's visit to Gorongosa.

The capture of Casa Banana in a joint Mozambican-Zimbabwean military operation was a mjor coup for the government, and President Machel visited the base in a blaze of publicity on 5 September. In fact, the offensive was lengthy, having started in July, and involved overrunning various minor camps and bases in the region. The amount of military materiel captured was estimated at hundreds of tons, sufficient to maintain Renamo activities for years rather than months. That supplies were being flown in was evidenced by the capture of an 800-metre airstrip.

In a BBC interview at month's end Jorge Correia, Renamo's spokesperson in Lisbon, denied that the rebels received South African help, calling Pik Botha "a big liar" for having admitted as much a few days earlier. Correia claimed that Renamo had infiltrated 270 men into Maputo to blow up an ammunition dump.

Documents discovered at Gorongosa confirmed that the two Soviet geologists who had been abducted in August 1983 were both executed by the rebels.

There was reportedly some anxiety in South African government circles that incriminating documentation found in the base would also confirm clandestine visits by the deputy minister of defence, Louis Nel, to the base, clearly revealing South Africa's untrustworthiness.


Click on the yellow folder image below to download an unsorted zipped archive of documents and press clippings in PDF format concerning the conflict between the Mozambican government and the MNR/Renamo in September 1985.

Zipped file image