"He told me he had to sleep in the woods and didn’t know where he could go"
On Tuesday there was fighting between Renamo guerrillas and Mozambican government forces. We heard that three government soldiers had died, and that two Renamo gunmen had been injured and were being held at the rural hospital of Chicuque. But we don’t know for sure because there’s conflicting information. Since then, we heard that the area has returned to normal.People have been leaving their homes since January 1. On Sunday morning our crew went to the town of Pembe, in Homoine District, which Renamo guerrillas have made their provincial base. Along the way there were people of all ages fleeing in different directions. We found cars loaded with all kinds of things, like goats, pigs, chickens, beds, housewares: whatever people could prioritise when they decided to flee.Photo sent to FRANCE 24 by Berlaves Alexandre. It shows people fleeing homes in the district of Homoine, where clashes were reported on January 7.There was a 70-year-old man with his wife. He said he had six children and countless grandchildren. We found him pushing his bicycle loaded with their few possessions. He told me they had to sleep in the woods and didn’t know where they could go. He said he had seen people from his neighbourhood fleeing, so he and his wife just followed them. They didn’t even know why they had had to abandon their home.
“We basically still have two movements with a guerrilla mindset fighting each other”
This is the result of the skirmishes that have gone on since after the Cold-War period, because we basically still have two movements with guerilla mindsets fighting each other. One is in power [Frelimo], the other one wants to reach power [Renamo]. They both have weapons. So there are the necessary preconditions for a war scenario to develop. If both sides refuse to negotiate, they could seriously destabilize the country.Photo sent to FRANCE 24 by Berlaves Alexandre. It shows people fleeing homes in the district of Homoine.The causes of this breakdown are a combination of factors. Frelimo never wanted to share anything with Renamo. Renamo accuse Frelimo of politicizing the state. Basically, according to Renamo you have to prove you’re a Frelimo sympathizer to get access anywhere. Renamo also believe the upcoming elections could be rigged [Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in October 2014], so they’ve asked for the composition of the National Electoral Commission to be changed. It’s currently made up of mostly Frelimo sympathizers. It’s also quite clear that only the guys connected to Frelimo will have access to the big economic deals, so Renamo also want to be part of that.