The Conflict with Renamo, 1976-1992
«July 1991»

Dossier MZ-0020


1977 1978 September 1981


137. A Thousand Killed in Massacre at Lalaua?

Renamo child fighters

Above: Renamo was frequently criticised for using instrumentalised children, the boys as fighters, and girls often as "wives" for rebel chieftains. The picture above shows Renamo boy fighters with their weapons. Photo: CFF, Maputo.

The acknowledged difficulties of reporting the conflict in rural Mozambique were clearly illustrated by sensational stories around the capture and recapture of Lalaua in Nampula province in June/July. The town was taken by Renamo and then quickly recaptured by the FPLM, and initial eye-witness reports spoke of a thousand people beheaded, and of Renamo emptying the shelves of local shops to display the heads of the victims, in what would clearly have been, if confirmed, a major atrocity. The story as reported in Notícias was picked up by e.g. the Cape Times on 24 July. However, by month's end the Portuguese newspaper Público was confidently and precisely reporting that there were in fact 49 people killed, and on 15 August (see next page in this series) Notícias itself was taking a much more cautious position ("Número de mortos continua desconhecido"). What is certain, however, is that multiple brutalities took place, regardless of the numbers involved.

At the end of the month a South African newspaper, the New Nation, revealed details of a deal between South Africa's electricity utility company, Eskom, and Renamo, under the terms of which Renamo would desist from attacking the power lines from Cahora Bassa, and Eskom would provide "material support" to the rebel group, including food, uniforms, and even ammunition.

Details of the Nhamagodoa archives, captured in mid-April, began to be reported in late June and early July, confirming Kenyan and Malawian support for Renamo.


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 1991.

Zipped file image