Trains operated by the Brazilian mining company Vale are once again carrying coal shipments along the Sena railway line from the Vale mine at Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, to the port of Beira.
Vale’s use of the line was interrupted after two attacks on coal trains by gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo. The last such attack was in late July.
According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the first train to make the journey arrived at the Beira coal terminal on Wednesday morning. The train consisted of four locomotives and 84 wagons loaded with coal.
Reopening the Sena line to Vale trains was conditional on a deal between Vale and the Mozambican port and rail company, CFM, with CFM taking responsibility for the costs of security.
Earlier this year, work on modernizing the Sena line was concluded so that it can now handle 20 million tonnes of cargo a year, rather than the previous 6.5 million. The improvements made to the line should reduce the number of derailments. The work was carried out by the Portuguese company Mota-Engil and cost 163 million US dollars.
The line can now be safely used by trains of up to 100 wagons, pulled by six locomotives.
Meanwhile, the Renamo attacks are having a severe impact on the northern parts of Tete province. Operating out of a military base in the Monjo area, Renamo gangs have attacked Banga and Maconje localities, in Tsangano district, according to a report in the Beira paper “Diario de Mozambique”. In both places, the gunmen attacked health units and stole medicines.
The poor security situation has caused 769 people to flee from their hopes and take refuge in the villages of Nkhangazobwe and Água-boa.
Two primary schools have closed, at Thanga and Chinbaene. 424 pupils and five teachers have been transferred Nkhangazobwe, where the military situation is said to be calm.
Citizens from other parts of Tsangano had fled over the border into Malawi, but many of them have now returned.