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Monday, 24 June 2013

Renamo threatens to disrupt Mozambican coal railway line

Speaking to reporters on 19 June, Mozambique's opposition party – the National Resistance Movement (Resist├¬ncia Nacional Mo├žambicana: Renamo) – has threatened to paralyse the movement of trains of the railway between Beira-Moatize and Beira-Morromeu. The Sena rail line, which incorporates the Moatize mining area, is a key transport route for transporting coal to Beira, while Morromeu is a sugar-producing area. It was also suggested that Renamo would block traffic on the EN1 main highway that connects southern and northern Mozambique, following claims by Renamo that the government uses vehicles to transport weaponry and soldiers in plain clothes.

Renamo's threats come at a time of increased tensions with the government after party leader Afonso Dhlakama retreated to a bush base in the Gorongosa area with some ex-combatants in October 2012 and warned of the potential for fresh violence. The party's grievances span a range of issues, including electoral reform ahead of municipal elections in November 2013 and general elections in 2014.

The latest threats may be a means of attempting to add pressure to their demands. However, with limited progress likely in successive rounds of talks, this elevates the risk of Renamo elements attempting to carry out the party's threat against infrastructure targets that could cause operational disruption for mining and exporting activities such as coal.