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Mozambique Accuses Rebels of Killing Civilians

February 22, 1987

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) _ Hundreds of anti-government rebels killed about 50 civilians and sabotaged five state-owned tea-processing factories in a raid, the Mozambican news agency AIM reported Sunday.

It said the attack by rebels of the Mozambique National Resistance took place Feb. 12 in central Zambezia province, but gave no details of the civilian deaths.

The agency said two tea factories in Zambezia’s Gurue district were wrecked beyond repair and that the rebels also set fire to tons of tea in warehouses.

The insurgents have been waging a guerrilla war against Mozambique’s Marxist government since 1977, including sabotage to cripple the country’s economy. Thousands of civilians have fled the fighting and famine.

The Sunday Mail newspaper in Zimbabwe said an abandoned railroad yard in central Mozambique’s Tete province is being used as a makeshift refugee center.

A reporter who went to Moatize town said about 7,600 refugees, many suffering from dysentery, were occupying the railroad yard.

The newspaper quoted Silver Silemane, 51, as saying he ran away from his village in Zambezia province late last year after it was attacked by Mozambican guerrillas. He said he was separated from his wife and six children, now believed housed in a camp in neighboring Malawi.

A United Nations report published this month estimates 1 million people have been made homeless by civil war and drought in Mozambique, a quarter of them having fled to neighboring countries.

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