The Mozambique civil War started in 1977 and lasted for two decades before it came to an end. Last year, some trouble started up again and Renamo Rebel veterans who operate near their old stronghold in the Gorongosa National Park area started blockading roads and ambushing vehicles in the Sofala province. Whilst the Government of Mozambique state that there is no chance of a full civil war erupting, in recent months, the incidents seem to be spreading. Alarmed by an influx of Mozambican refugees and concerned about the territorial integrity of their borders, Zimbabwedeployed members of the Police Support Unit to patrol along their border.

The Support Unit.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit has a long history of being an elite armed combat unit. A troop of the ‘Unit was deployed to patrol near the Sango Border Post on the Mozambique border. Sango was previously known as Vila Salazar and is a village in the Masvingo Province inZimbabwe. On the Mozambiqueside of the border isChicualacuala, previously named Malvernia. The small town is in the Chicualacuala District, of the Gaza Province which was not previously a Renamo stronghold.

Incident reportedly happened inside Zimbabwe.

Several Zimbabwe Newspapers, including the Zimbabwean, reported that whilst on patrol along the Mwenezi River near Sango, three members of the Support Unit were ambushed and abducted by suspected Renamo rebels.

ZRP national spokesperson Charity Charamba has not yet issued an official comment, but a source from Sango told the Zimbabwean that the incident took place last week and that it involved three members of a 14-strength unit. One was an Assistant Inspector and the other two were constables.

Weapons were taken from them.

The reports which were also carried by ZimEye News speculate that the incident could cause some tension between Zimbabwe and its neighbour.

The Police officers were allegedly captured and held by Renamo Rebels for four hours. During those four hours, they were questioned and had their identity papers and weapons taken away from them. The weapons involved a pistol and two loaded AK47 automatic rifles.

Remote area - fluid border.

The area is remote and fairly undeveloped and fluidity of movement across the border has a long history.

During the Rhodesian war, it was not uncommon for members of the original Support Unit to cross the border and visit Malvernia to buy small luxuries such as wine and tobacco. There has been no indication that the ZRP members involved in last week’s incident had crossed into Mozambique when they were captured.