The Mozambican Civil war was a 15-year conflict that occurred between May 30, 1977 and October 4, 1992 within the southern African country of Mozambique. Although ostensibly an indoor war, the conflict was actually a war between the Soviet Union which backed the Mozambican government and therefore the us which supported the insurgents.
The war occurred two years after Mozambique officially gained its independence from Portugal. the most belligerents were the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) led by President Samora Machel which controlled the central government and therefore the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) led by André Matsangaissa. it had been estimated that a million people died during a 15-year conflict during a country which in 1990 had a population of 14 million.
The background of the war goes back to 1976 when troops from white minority-controlled Rhodesia entered Mozambique to hold out operations against the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) which had bases in Mozambican territory. The Rhodesian troops freed André Matsangaissa, an ex-FRELIMO official who had been arrested and imprisoned.
Matsangaissa joined RENAMO which was formed in 1975 con to FRELIMO and quickly rose to become its leader. When Matsangaissa was killed in 1979 after an unsuccessful attack on a Mozambican regional Centre, Afonso Dhlakama became the new leader of RENAMO.
FRELIMO was strongest within the cities and major towns of Mozambique during much of the war while RENAMO operated mainly within the countryside. It continued the fight against the Mozambique central government even after the white minority regime in Rhodesia was replaced by Robert Mugabe who renamed the country Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his government now supported FRELIMO but RENAMO gained the support of Kenya and South Africa.
RENAMO administered raids on towns and infrequently smaller cities. To realize more troops it recruited civilians into its army—including child solders—after mass abductions. RENAMO also had imposed a system it called Gamdira whereby villagers were required to supply food, transport goods and ammunition, and village women were forced to be sex slaves.
As the war continued each side began using brutal tactics including land mines. RENAMO however attempted to stall the economy and destroy confidence within the central government by mining roads, schools, and health centers.
The war continued into the 1980s with FRELIMO losing most of Mozambique’s territory although keeping control within the urban areas. FRELIMO got support and aid from the Soviet Union, France, and therefore the uk while RENAMO got its aid from South Africa, Kenya, and covertly from the us.
On October 19, 1986, President Samora Machel died when his plane crashed near South Africa’s border. It had been unclear how and why the plane crashed or whether RENAMO or maybe South Africa was responsible.
Joaquim Alberto Chissano succeeded Machel as president of the country where, due to the nine-year conflict, many thousands of Mozambicans were dying from famine which was caused by both FRELIMO and RENAMO.
By 1990 neither side appeared to be winning the war. Developments outside Mozambique, however, would soon bring an end to the fighting. By 1990 South Africa was moving toward a black majority-controlled nation and therefore the Soviet Union had fallen. FRELIMO and RENAMO were losing their major supporters and arms suppliers.
In 1990, Mozambique adopted a replacement constitution that included multiparty elections. In 1992, a peace accord was signed in Rome, Italy which allowed UN peacekeepers to enter the country. Their presence effectively ended the war. In 1994, the primary free elections were held within the country. Despite FRELIMO winning the bulk, some of the population voted for RENAMO candidates. The political rivalry continues but the military conflict is over.
The First Liberia Civil War (1989-1996)
The First Liberian war was one among Africa’s bloodiest civil conflicts within the post-independence era. The war claimed quite 2 hundred thousand Liberian lives during a nation of two .1 million people and displaced 1,000,000 other citizens in refugee camps in neighboring countries. On December 24, 1989, a band of Libyan-trained rebels led by Charles Taylor invaded Liberia from the Ivory Coast.
Taylor’s rebel group which was called the NFPL (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) consisted mostly of Gio and Mano peoples from Nimba County in eastern Liberia. The Gio and Mano people had long been opposed and persecuted by Liberian President Samuel Doe and his Krahn ethnos.
Taylor’s NPFL, including former Liberian military men and civilians, was one among the primary to recruit children as soldiers. The NPFL clashed with government forces and other ethnic militias supporting President Doe between December 1989 and mid-1993. During that period, all groups involved within the fighting generated civilian causalities, but Taylor’s NFPL was liable for the slaughter of thousands of Liberians, both military and civilians, who opposed him.
Because the NFPL forces advanced toward Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, in 1990, they specifically targeted people from the Krahn and Mandingo ethnic groups who remained loyal to the Doe government.
Eventually, due to the high level of civilian casualties, Nigerian and Ghanaian troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) entered Monrovia ostensibly as peacekeepers, but their presence prolonged the war by aiding President Doe’s beleaguered troops. Doe was captured and killed on September 9, 1990, by Prince Johnson and his rebel group, the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) which had been waging a separate campaign against the government.
ECOWAS troops prevented Taylor from capturing Monrovia and instead forced the creation of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) led by Dr. Amos C Sawyer who became the nation’s president. Taylor, however, refused to figure with this government and continued fighting.
As the war continued, a minimum of seven factions became involved the conflict, including the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), the United Liberian Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), the Lofa soldiers , and lots of members of the soldiers of Liberia who were still loyal to Doe’s government.
The fighting between these various factions continued and generated more civilian casualties. Finally, in 1992 Taylor and therefore the NFPL launched an outsized scale attack on Monrovia, called Operation Octopus. The siege of the capital lasted for 2 months and trapped ECOWAS troops who were unable to realize a plus during this ongoing war.
Eventually, in August 1996, Nigerian officials forced the main warring factions to sign the Abuja Accord requiring that all of them agreed to disarm and demobilize by 1997 and abide by UN-monitored elections. The elections gave victory to Charles Taylor, leader of the National Patriotic Party, in defeating Ellen John Sirleaf; for the primary time, Taylor ruled all of Liberia.
Read also: Types of Conflict