The Conflict with Renamo, 1976-1992
«July 1990»

Dossier MZ-0020


1977 1978 September 1981


125. FPLM's Three-Month Offensive Pays Off;
Ambivalence in Portugal's Intelligence Structures

FPLM tank unit

Above: An FPLM tank unit. It remains unclear to what extent the availability of sophisticated weaponry – tanks, aircraft, artillery – helped the government in a prolonged struggle against small mobile groups of Renamo fighters who were often keen to avoid engagement with the army.

In three months of offensives against Renamo in the southern and central provinces, the FPLM killed 227 rebel fighters and captured 17, while 11 surrendered to the government army. During the same period seven towns with the status of administrative capitals at district level, and another six smaller towns, all of which had been captured by Renamo in 1989, were retaken by the government. The FPLM also captured 15 rebel camps in central provinces and another 22 in the south.

Renamo's attempts to export their rebellion to neighbouring countries – and perhaps more importantly, to secure food supplies – continued, with the axing to death of seven people in an ambush on a convoy of vehicles near Petauke, in eastern Zanbia. A report in the Zimbabwean Herald newspaper described the indoctrination of young boys to carry out attacks, as well as the use of captured civilians to act as human shields during raids.

A story published in the French Indian Ocean Newsletter described differences between the Portuguese military intelligence, SIM, and the SIS, over how to handle Portugal's relations with Renamo. For a more detailed analysis of Portuguese intelligence relative to southern Africa, see the paper "Portugal's Intelligence Services and Southern Africa 1975-1990". This text was written and researched by Colin Darch from public domain materials in 1990 and was circulated privately at the time.


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 July 1990.

Zipped file image