Government Says South Africa Planning Raid
MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) _ Mozambique’s government accused neighboring South Africa on Saturday of sending commandos into Maputo and planning an air raid on the capital, and told its citizens and armed forces to keep on the alert.
In Johannesburg, a South African Defense Force spokesman called Mozambique’s charges mere speculation, and said Mozambican leaders apparently were suffering ″a severe attack of nerves.″
A Mozambique government communique, distributed in Maputo and read on national radio, said, ″The raids being prepared involve the use of the air force and of disguised commando groups infiltrated into our country.″
″The South African warmongers are preparing direct attacks on our country by the South African armed forces with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the Mozambican government and installing a puppet regime,″ the communique said.
Mozambique first claimed South African was planning a raid on Friday, when Security Minister Sergio Vieira told members of People’s Vigilance Groups that South African commandos had infiltrated Maputo. He said everyone should be on the lookout for unusual activities.
The government said it received information about a planned raid from ″South African citizens who are opposed to the policies of the warmongers.″ It said some of the informants ″are linked to South African economic sectors.″
Saturday’s communique said, ″The armed forces, the people’s militias, the vigilance groups, and our entire people, should be on permanent alert as from now own.″
President Samora Machel’s Marxist government and South Africa’s white leaders have been at odds for years, although Mozambique is heavily dependent on South Africa for power supplies, trade connections and jobs for its people.
In March 1984, the two neighbors signed an agreement not to support insurgents in each other’s territory. South Africa had supported the Mozambique National Resistance, which is fighting to overthrow Machel.
Mozambique said last year that it discovered documents in a guerrilla stonghold that proved South African officials still were aiding the Mozambique National Resistance, and Pretoria has not denied it.
On Monday, a landmine exploded in South Africa’s KaNgwane black homeland, near the Mozambique border, injuring six white soldiers and three black civilians.
South Africa said the landmine was planted by guerrillas of the African National Congress operating from Mozambique, and announced it will expel Mozambican workers when their contracts expire. Mozambican workers send home $50 million a year from their jobs on South African gold mines and farms.
The ANC is the main black guerrilla group fighting to establish black majority rule in South Africa.
In its communique Saturday, the Mozambique government said the report of the landmine explosion was fabricated by Pretoria as a pretense to attack.
The South African Defense Force spokesman told The Associated Press, ″These reports from Mozambique are no more than speculation and a sign of a severe attack of nerves on the part of the Moxambique government, who are obviously in deep waters because of their support for ANC terrorists.
″As far as the KaNgwane landmine is concerned, the Defense Force is not prepared to comment on such blatant nonsense,″ he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, and said it was against department policy to be quoted by name.
Mozambique has denied the ANC operates from its territory, but it often is host to high-ranking ANC officials.
The Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the leaders of the six so-called Front Line states of southern Africa would meet Sunday in Maputo for regular consultations.
Presidents Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, Quett Masire of Botswana, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will join Machel in the one-day summit, the ministry said.