Portuguese government troops in Mozambique have been stepping up their activities in the Tete region in recent months in an attempt to expel the Frelimo guerrillas from that area.
Portuguese government troops in Mozambique have been stepping up their activities in the Tete region in recent months in an attempt to expel the Frelimo guerrillas from that area. Controversy has flared about their operations since reports of a massacre in which 400 Africans were said to have been killed by Portuguese troops in the Tete area.
The Roman Catholic priest who reported the alleged massacre to the British press said the killings took place in a village called 'Wiriyamu', and was documented by missionaries in the area.
The publicity coincide with the visit to Britain next week of Portugal's Prime Minister, Dr. Marcello Caetano. He's due in London on Monday, July 16th. Dr. Caetano has ordered an inquiry into the massacre allegations. Earlier, in an interview at his home in Lisbon, he defended Portugal's policies in Africa.
The Tete region is particularly sensitive to guerrilla activities because of the Cabora Bassa Dam project which the guerrillas have been making determined efforts to sabotage.
A British Broadcasting Corporation team filmed the activities of the special unit who have been operating the guerrillas in the province. The troops, mainly black with white officers, are regarded as the crack force in the Portuguese army. Three weeks ago they raided a village in Tete after they said they had received information that Frelimo guerrillas were hiding there. The village was deserted when the Portuguese troops arrived. Later they razed it to the ground because they said they wished to prevent it being used by the frelimo.
At Mozambique Isle, the first area colonised by the Portuguese, the Governor-General Pimental Dos Santos was filmed watching an extraordinary local ritual. The Muslim sect members in a state of trance, plunged knives and darts through their skin without drawing blood, and apparently without pain. The Governor General was questioned on the prospect of Portugal with-drawing from Africa.
SYNOPSIS: Portuguese troops have been stepping up their activities in the Tete region of Mozambique in recent months in an attempt to expel the Frelimo guerrillas from the area. Their operations have become the centre of a controversy since allegations were published last week that Portuguese troops had massacred four hundred Africans in the same province.
Troops from the crack Special Parachute Group raided this village in Tete after receiving information that Frelimo fighters were hiding there.
The area is particularly sensitive to guerrilla activities because of the Cabora Bassa Dam which is under construction there. The guerrillas have made determined efforts to sabotage the project.
The village was deserted when the troops arrived, led by the unit commander. Colonel Costa Campos. Most of the army officers, are white.
After their fruitless search, the troops set fire to the village. They said this was to prevent the Frelimo guerrillas from using it as a hiding place in the future.
The allegations of the massacre coincide with the visit to Britain next week of Dr. Caetano, the Portuguese Prime Minister. He has now ordered an inquiry into the reports. Earlier he defended Portugal's policies in an interview in Lisbon.
In a remote part of Mozambique, l members of a muslim sect enact a ritual, watched by the Governor-General. A self-induced trance stops bleeding and pain. The Governor, Pimental Dos Santos gave his view on Portugal's African presence: