Government (FRELIMO)

Guerrilla groups

South Africa







There was a long colonial war against the Portuguese, who left in 1974.

Following independence the liberation movement FRELIMO (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) took power.

As the war in neighboring Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) grew more intense the Rhodesian government tried to destabilize Mozambique by arming an anti-government force then called COREMO now RENAMO. On the fall of Rhodesia this force was taken over by the South Africans. Their propagandists claimed they were fighting against Marxism but on the ground they behaved with extreme brutality and showed no knowledge of political aims. It can be assumed that the South African controllers wanted to weaken Mozambique and keep it poor and dependent. There may have been support from extreme right wing American foundations who also operated in Angola and Nicaragua.

FRELIMO gave up Marxism but the war went on. It resulted in a famine and thousands of casualties including legs blown off by mines supplied by South Africa. Many refugees fled to neighboring Malawi.

By 1994 the war seemed to have ended and the two forces are unifying. South Africa's change to a democratic regime is probably the main cause - the supply tap has finally been turned off. Malawi's change also is effective. But there are hundreds of thousands of traumatized people, both victims and soldiers.

Last revised 20/02/10


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