RENAMO insurgency (2013–15)

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RENAMO insurgency
Date April 2013 – September 2014,[1] 2015-
Location Mozambique


  • Peace Agreement reached in September 2014
  • Renewed violence in mid 2015
Mozambique Republic of Mozambique Mz renamo1.PNG RENAMO
Commanders and leaders
Mozambique Armando Guebuza
Mozambique Filipe Nyusi
Mz renamo1.PNG Afonso Dhlakama
Casualties and losses
100+ total killed[2]

The concurrent RENAMO insurgency[3] is an ongoing state of armed insurrection waged by the RENAMO party in Mozambique. The insurgency is part of the aftermath of the Mozambican Civil War; it began in mid-2013 and continued into 2014,[4] resulting in dozens of deaths. A ceasefire has been announced between the government and the rebels on September 2014.[1] Renewed tensions, however, sparked violence in mid-2015.


Main article: Mozambican Civil War

Colonial government in Mozambique came to an end with the Marxist revolution led by the FRELIMO party (shortcut for Mozambican Liberation Front or Frente de Libertação de Moçambique) and independence from Portugal in 1975. This revolution was opposed by neighbouring South Africa and the former British dependency of Rhodesia, which had unilaterally declared its independence in 1965. The RENAMO (shortcut for Mozambican National Resistance or Resistência Nacional Moçambicana) movement opposing the revolutionary government was initially founded with tacit support from these governments, especially through the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation.

RENAMO fought a civil war with the FRELIMO government until the signing of the Rome General Peace Accords in 1992. Foreign support for the rebels eroded with the rise of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. In the course of renewed negotiations, the FRELIMO government instituted a new constitution, making Mozambique a multiparty state with periodic elections and guaranteed democratic rights. Since then, support for RENAMO has waned in Mozambique elections, and its leader Afonso Dhlakama in October 2012 began retraining ageing veterans demanding "a new political order". This followed complaints that the political system was not sufficiently inclusive and that the proceeds of economic development were not being shared fairly.[5] RENAMO turned to arms once again, citing fears for the safety of its leader.[6][7]


2013 Resurgence[edit]

The activity of RENAMO resurged in April 2013, when armed clashes broke out with a RENAMO attack on a police station in Muxungue.[7]

RENAMO participated in two clashes in August 2013, resulting in the deaths of 36 Mozambique soldiers and policemen according to RENAMO announcement; local media figures were put significantly lower in comparison, reporting just 2 deaths.[7]

On 21 October 2013, a government raid on the RENAMO base in Sofala Province resulted in one rebel death. [8]


In January 2014, 1 person was killed and five injured in a Muxungue ambush by RENAMO.[9] In early January 2014, additional six members of Mozambican Defense and Security force in Hemoine district.[10]

RENAMO members were suspected of killing four policemen and wounding five others in Mozambique's district of Gorongosa in early March 2014.[11]

A “unilateral ceasefire”, decreed by its leader Afonso Dhlakama, was announced by RENAMO on May 7, 2014.[12]

On May 15, two policemen were killed by RENAMO in the Morutane region of Mocuba district (Zambezia province).[4]

On May 31 and June 1, RENAMO claimed killing 20 soldiers in Muxungue region.[13] On June 2, Antonio Muchanga (the spokesman of the organization) claimed that “As from today, there are no guarantees of movement”.[12] RENAMO’s explanation for scrapping the truce was a claim that the government was massing forces in the Sofala district of Gorongosa in order to assassinate Dhlakama, who was living in a base on the slopes of the Gorongosa mountain range.[12]

On June 4, the RENAMO rebel movement killed 3 people, attacking a convoy of vehicles on the main north-south highway.[6] Earlier that week 7 people were injured at the same location by RENAMO in similar circumstances.[12]

The government and the RENAMO rebels signed a ceasefire on August 25, 2014. This followed almost a year of negotiations and the government release of rebels captured in fighting in the week beforehand, coming into effect at 22:00 on that day. Saimon Macuiane, the rebels' chief negotiator, called it an, "important step towards national reconciliation... and a durable peace." The ceasefire was seen as part of a wider attempt to bring peace to the country ahead of elections scheduled for October 2014.[14]

On September 5, Mozambican President Arnando Guebuza has signed a peace deal with ex-rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama, who emerged from two years in hiding to sign the deal in the capital, Maputo.[1]

Cease fire and tensions[edit]

Following the September 2014 agreement, provincial elections were held in Mozambique on 15 of October, with their results sparking a renewed political crisis in the country - Renamo at first mocking the official election results, alleging that the results released by the provincial elections commissions are "adulterated" and do not reflect what really occurred at the polling stations.[15] In a consequent Beira conference, Renamo declared that it had won 139 seats in the seven northern and central provinces to just 34 for the ruling Frelimo Party and 14 for the Mozambique Democratic Movement.[15] It added that it would not accept any results which did not agree with its own count.[15] The official results of provincial elections were completely different, resulting in a political crisis.

On early March 2015, a leading legal expert in Mozambique, named Gilles Cistac, was murdered in central Maputo.[16] Cistac was identified with a pro-Renamo faction, previously endorsing plans by opposition party RENAMO to create autonomous provinces, an issue upon which the ruling FRELIMO party is divided.[16] Following the murder, at a rally on 6 March, RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama accused FRELIMO of committing the murder and has threatened to bypass parliamentary debate and to start ruling the autonomous provinces he claims for RENAMO.[16]

On 14 June 2015, Dhlakama's forces perpetrated an ambush on Mozambuquan troops, claiming to inflict as much as 35 government fatalities, thus bringing the cease-fire to a halt.[17] According to the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Pedro Cossa, two policemen were wounded in the ambush, one of whom died on the way to hospital.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "BBC News - Mozambique rivals Dhlakama and Guebuza sign peace deal". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Cahen on Stephen A. Emerson, 'The Battle for Mozambique: The Frelimo-Renamo Struggle (1977-1992)". H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. Retrieved 15 January 2015. "...a fully developed “new” civil war did not materialize in Mozambique during these two years, but local violent skirmishes probably led to several hundred deaths."
  3. ^ NSNBC. "With Renamo, both being represented in parliament and having relaunched its armed insurgency, the party is both increasing its political and military campaigns, in what analysts describe as an attempt to cast the country into a new civil war up the October 2014 parliamentary and presidential elections." "Mozambique: Renamo starts killing in Inhambane after reopening Base". nsnbc international. 
  4. ^ a b "Mozambique: Renamo Kills Mozambican Soldiers in Zambezia". allAfrica. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  5. ^ LOPES, MARINA; FLETCHER, PASCAL (Jun 20, 2013). "Insurgency threat may dim Mozambique's shine for investors". Reuters. Reuters. 
  6. ^ a b Fauvet, Paul. "Mozambique’s Renamo kills three on highway". iOl News (iOl News). iOl News. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "36 Mozambique soldiers, police killed: Renamo". Retrieved 15 August.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ "Mozambique: Prominent Renamo member killed in raid". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 15 August.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Mozambique: Renamo Kills One, Injures Five in Muxungue Ambush". allAfrica. Retrieved 15 August.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. ^ NSNBC. "The independent Mozambican newspaper Medifax reported that six FIR troops have been killed in clashes with Renamo insurgents in the Homoine District..." [1]
  11. ^ "Four Moz cops killed by Renamo: report". iOl News. Retrieved 15 August.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  12. ^ a b c d "". iOl News. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  13. ^ William Felimao (2 June 2014). "Mozambique’s Renamo Says Cease-Fire Over as 20 Military Killed". Bloomberg. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mozambique rivals agree ceasefire ahead of elections". BBC News (BBC). BBC. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c Mozambique: Renamo Claims Victory in Elections -
  16. ^ a b c "Killing of Mozambican lawyer raises risks of government instability and popular protests in major cities". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  17. ^ a b " Mozambique: Dhlakama Admits Ordering Ambush". Retrieved 3 July 2015.