Alfonso Dhlakama 2

Alfonso Dhlakama

From 1976 to 1977, Rhodesian troops repeatedly entered Mozambique in order to carry out operations against ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) bases tolerated on Mozambican territory by the FRELIMO government. During one such raid, Rhodesian forces freed FRELIMO ex-official André Matsangaissa from a reeducation camp. He was given military training and installed as leader of RENAMO, which had been founded by the Rhodesian secret service shortly before. It was created in Salisbury, Rhodesia under the auspices of Ken Flower, head of the Rhodesian CIO, and Orlando Christina, an ex Portuguese Secret Police operative with long experience in Africa. RENAMO subsequently started operating in the Gorongosa area in order to fight FRELIMO and ZANLA. However, in 1979 Matsangaissa died in RENAMO’s unsuccessful first attack on a regional centre (Villa Paiva) and RENAMO was ousted from the area. Subsequently, Afonso Dhlakama became the new leader of RENAMO and formed it into an effective guerilla army.