Maputo, Mozambique — 26 June 2013 – Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has suspended coal exports from the northwest Tete province of Mozambique because of security concerns after threats by the opposition Renamo party to disrupt the strategic Sena railway line, which runs from Moatize to the port of Beira.
“As for Rio Tinto’s goods trains, the company decided to suspend them,” Tete provincial governor Rachid Gogo told Radio Mozambique, according to Fin24.
A Rio spokesperson in Johannesburg was not immediately available for comment, and nor were offficials at Brazilian mining giant Vale, the other commercial user of the Sena line.
Renamo, a former guerrilla movement that waged the 1975-1992 civil war against the Mozambique government, has threatened to renew hostilities against the ruling Frelimo party this year in an attempt to wring political concessions out of the government.
Last week it issued a public threat to disrupt traffic on arterial roads and the Sena line, the only railway leading from the massive coal fields around Tete to the Indian Ocean port of Beira.
Since the announcement gunmen have ambushed several trucks and buses on roads in the central belt of the southern African nation, killing at least two people and forcing vehicles to travel in convoys with military escorts.
So far there have been no reported attacks on the Sena line, a frequent target during the post-independence fighting between Frelimo and Renamo, which was founded with the help of white-ruled Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa.
Mozambique media say passenger rail services on the line have been reduced. Foreign embassies have also advised tourists against all but essential travel in the central Sofala province, a Renamo stronghold during the war.
Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.