Mozambique says Renamo ambush kills one, injures 10

Reuters

* Bus travelling between towns burned by attackers

* State media blames Renamo for attack

* Former rebel group has abandoned peace pact

By Manuel Mucari

MAPUTO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Suspected Renamo guerrillasambushed a passenger minibus in central Mozambique on Saturday,killing one person and injuring 10 more in an attack condemnedby President Armando Guebuza, state media said.

Fears of hit-and-run attacks by armed partisans of Renamoopposition leader Afonso Dhlakama have increased after the armyoverran Dhlakama's base in central Sofala province on Monday,forcing him to flee into the bush.

Former rebel group Renamo fought a 16-year civil war againstthe ruling Frelimo party which ended in a 1992 peace pact thatestablished multi-party politics. Renamo has lost every electionsince 1992 and Dhlakama's party, which is demanding electoralreforms, said on Monday it was abandoning the peace agreement.

The latest fighting follows Renamo raids in April and Junein Sofala province. It is taking place several hundredkilometres (miles) north of the capital Maputo in a ruralprovince, but has raised concerns that the country could slipback into a wider conflict that would derail a coal and offshoregas investment boom that has boosted economic growth.

The state news agency AIM said President Guebuza condemnedSaturday's attack on the minibus travelling between Machanga andthe port of Beira in Sofala province. The bus was burned out andtwo other civilian vehicles were hit in the ambush, AIM said.

Renamo, which has said it does not want a return to all-outwar, did not immediately claim the ambush. It said this week oneof Dhlakama's top aides, former rebel and Renamo member ofparliament Armindo Milaco, was killed in the raid by governmenttroops on Dhlakama's Sathunjira camp on Monday.

Dhlakama is in hiding in an undisclosed location and Renamospokesmen say he is well.

AIM quoted Guebuza's spokesman Edson Macuacua as saying theMozambican president was still open to holding talks with theRenamo leader and appealed to him to come forward. "The onlysolution to any difference is dialogue," Macuacua said.

The United Nations, former colonial ruler Portugal, theCatholic Church and foreign donor governments including theUnited States have all called on Frelimo and Renamo to negotiatetheir differences and avoid a return to war.

Mozambique's economy is expected to grow 7 percent this year- one of the fastest in Africa - and investors such as Brazil'sVale, London-listed Rio Tinto, Italy's Eni and U.S. oil firm Anadarko have been developing some of the world's largest untapped coal and gas reservesthere.

Renamo, which still holds 51 seats in the 250-memberparliament, accuses Guebuza and his party of monopolisingpolitical and economic power in the country, where more thanhalf the population still lives in poverty. It is demanding anoverhaul of what it says is a flawed electoral system.

The opposition group says it will boycott upcoming municipalelections on Nov. 20 and has threatened to disrupt voting.

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