Mozambique to return bodies of Tanzanian soldiers

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- The bodies of 99 Tanzanian soldiers who died fighting Rhodesian and apartheid aggression in Mozambique will soon be returned to their homeland.
Mozambique's defence minister Tobias' Dai told journalists in Maputo Friday that the task of collecting the bodies from their temporary resting places in Mozambican cemeteries begins on Saturday.
Dai said that the Mozambican government has made $50,000 available to support the exhumation, and transport of the bodies.
A Tanzanian delegation arrived in Maputo on Friday and will visit the four provinces where the soldiers were buried.
The bodies will be taken to Quelimane, capital of Zambezia province, and then flown to Tanzania.
Sixty of the Tanzanians died in Zambezia, 21 in Tete, 15 in Manica and three in Gaza province.
A solemn ceremony to deliver the remains to the Tanzanian authorities will take place in the southern Tanzanian town of Mtwara on 22 August.
Tanzania sent troops to assist Mozambique on two occasions.
The first was in 1977-78, when the country was under attack from the illegal Ian Smith Regime in what was then still called Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
In 1987, in the darkest moment of the war of destabilisation, when it looked as if the South African apartheid regime, acting through the Renamo rebels, might succeed in splitting the country in two, the Tanzanian government agreed to send a contingent to help the Mozambican armed forces defend Zambezia.
This Tanzanian contingent was withdrawn in 1988.
Military co-operation between the two countries dates right back to the war for Mozambican independence, when the government of Julius Nyerere offered the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) training facilities and a secure rearguard in southern Tanzania.
In 1976, as Mozambique struggled to transform a guerrilla force into a regular army, 50 Tanzanian military instructors were sent to assist.
And when Tanzania moved to overthrow the Idi Amin dictatorship in Uganda, a contingent of Mozambican troops fought alongside the Tanzanian army all the way to Kampala.

14 août 2004 13:02:00

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