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Mozambican Rebels Clash With Zimbabweans

June 19, 1987

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ About 100 rebels fighting Mozambique’s Marxist government attacked a village in Zimbabwe in their first confirmed major foray against Zimbabwe, Western diplomats said Friday.

The rebels from the Mozambique National Resistance Movement retreated to Mozambique after clashing with Zimbabwean troops near the village earlier this week, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The diplomats had no estimate of casualties from the fighting, which they said began after the rebels entered Zimbabwe on Sunday near the northeastern village of Mukosa, 5 miles from the border.

Government security officials refused comment on the report.

The rebels ″did not penetrate far into Zimbabwe, but it seems they remained in the area until Tuesday,″ said one diplomat.

The Mozambican rebel group, known as Renamo, on June 2 announced the start of an offensive against Zimbabwe because of it supports the Mozambique government.

Renamo has said its forces attacked five army bases in northern Zimbabwe. There was never an independent confirmation, and Zimbabwe denied the claim.

Zimbabwean troops protect the railway, oil pipeline and main road of Mozambique’s Beira Corridor, a stategic route linking landlocked Zimbabwe with Mozambique’s Indian Ocean port at Beira.

The area is sparsely populated, but is a major corridor for Mozambican refugees fleeing rebel attacks. Zimbabwe’s government operates camps there for more than 43,000 Mozambican refugees.

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