Maputo - Mozambique's government said Wednesday that Renamo rebels have killed 10 people during six weeks of unrest, and warned that the military may soon go on the offensive.
“Ten people lost their lives and around 26 people have been injured... as a result of attacks by Renamo guerrillas,” defence ministry spokesman Cristovao Chume said.
There have been an escalation in tensions between the Frelimo government and Renamo supporters, who are calling for a larger slice of Mozambique's rapidly growing resource wealth.
The two parties fought a brutal near 16-year civil war that ended in 1992 after the deaths of an estimated one million people.
Chume said there had been a worrying “escalation of attacks by Renamo against people and their property,” particularly along the country's main north-south highway in the central Sofala province.
Children and foreigners, including a South African national, were among those killed in the recent attacks, said Chume, adding a Brazilian citizen was among the wounded victims.
“The government, the state and the people of Mozambique cannot continue to watch situations like this happening in the country indefinitely,” he warned, in the military's first public statement in weeks.
The army said armed members of the guerrilla group-turned-opposition party were also targeting military positions in Sofala.
The government over-ran Renamo's former military headquarters in the central Gorongosa mountains in late October.
“Since then we have not taken any offensive action, and with much concern and serenity we have watched these drastic attacks against civilians,” Chume said.