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Renamo is the pronounced acronym name for the Resistencia Nacional Mocambiciana or MNR, a organization created and directed by the apartheid era Rhodesian Army and later South African Defense Forces to undermine the majority rule government of Frelimo or Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique in post-colonial Mozambique. Sometimes compared to the Khmer Rouge for their ruthlessness though not for their efficiency, Renamo fighters focused their attacks on the civilian population of Mozambique to demonstrate the inability of the Frelimo government to defend them. In this they resembled the Nicaraguan Contras in their efforts to destabilize the Nicaraguan government of the Sandinistas. Mozambique was a Front Line state in the regional struggle against white minority rule and thus the target for destabilization. Recruited from among former Portugese colonial soldiers, Frelimo deserters and lumpen elements, Renamo terrorists varied in number between 8,000 and 25,000 at different points in time.

Mainstream news media in the West would have characterized both the Renamo fighters and the Nicraguan Contra fighters as "terrorists" had they directed their violence against the citizens of advanced industrial societies rather than against the citizens of poor countries. This is an example of a double standard.


  • William Finnegan. 1992. A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520082664.
  • Reed Brody. Contra Terror in Nicaragua. South End Press, ISBN 0896083128.