Zimbabwe deploys troops on Mozambique border

Zimbabwean soldiers
Zimbabwean soldiers in the streets of Harare.   FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Zimbabwe is reportedly amassing troops along the border with Mozambique in anticipation of a civil war in the neighbouring country.

Fears of a war are mounting in Mozambique after opposition Renamo leader Alfonso Dlakama returned to a former military base threatening war unless the Frelimo government agreed to negotiations.
The Zimbabwean government has not confirmed weekend reports by a private newspaper that troops were already being deployed in the eastern border.

But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday said it feared the deployments will be used as an excuse to campaign for President Robert Mugabe ahead of elections next year’s general election.

The MDC accuses army generals of being an extension of the veteran ruler’s Zanu-PF party.

“The government must first educate the soldiers they are deploying in Manicaland on the actual mandate, so that they do not stray and harass people as we approach the elections set for next year,” MDC said in a statement.

“Whilst its crucial for the government of Zimbabwe to deploy army personnel at our borders with Mozambique in case the Renamo bandits cause any instability, the desperate army bosses who are an extension of Zanu-PF must not take any advantage of the situation and send partisan soldiers to campaign for Zanu-PF and harass innocent civilians perceived to be MDC supporters.”

The Mozambican Government held talks on Monday with the ex-rebels over a number of grievances.

Zimbabwe intervened in the 16 year old civil war pitting Renamo and Frelimo mainly to protect an oil pipeline from Mozambique’s port of Beira to Harare.
Renamo rebels also often launched cross border raids into Zimbabwe where many civilians are killed.

The Daily News newspaper which reported about the troop deployments last Friday speculated that Zimbabwe mainly wanted to protect its newly opened diamond mines near the Mozambican border.

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