Established in 1976 by the Rhodesian security services, primarily to operate against anti-Rhodesian guerrillas based in Mozambique. South Africa subsequently developed RENAMO into an insurgent group opposing the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). Mozambique has a constitutional government headed by President Joaquim Chissano who was elected in the country's first multiparty elections in October 1994. The largest opposition party, RENAMO, made a strong showing in the elections, winning majorities in the country's five most populous provinces. President Chissano and the leadership of his party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which has ruled the country since independence in 1975, control policymaking and implementation.
Operated as a guerrilla insurgency against Mozambican Government and civilian targets; frequently ran cross-border operations into Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, where it murdered and kidnapped numerous civilians and destroyed property. Mozambique's political transition continues to be largely successful and reintegration of areas controlled by the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) during the war continue, with tensions limited to only a few districts by the end of 1997. RENAMO officials continue to allege that on numerous occasions police harass, detain, and beat members.
Location/Area of Operation
Mozambique; border areas of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia. Efforts to reintegrate RENAMO-controlled zones into central administrative structures continue, but RENAMO still exercises informal control over a number of areas through a rudimentary form of civil administration and traditional courts, with extensive use of traditional authorities as judges.
Assistance previously received from South Africa as well as from private individuals and groups in Europe and elsewhere.