I received this information on March 6th for anyone en route to Mozambique
Mozambique: Central provinces: Security force reinforcement highlights insurgency-related risks, need for precautions
Local sources on 4 March suggested that a large number of security forces have been deployed to Gorongosa district (Sofala province) to counter suspected elements of the Renamo armed opposition. The security force presence has also been reportedly heightened around government facilities in the Manica, Tete and Zambezia central provinces. The deployments have taken place following a Renamo statement of the group's intention to govern the central provinces from March. The region has recently witnessed a spate of attacks on civilian and government vehicles, particularly along the EN1 road.
Members travelling to central provinces (Manica, Nampula, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia) should monitor developments closely and expect heightened security and delays along roads affected by convoy requirements. The authorities on 17 and 21 February introduced mandatory escorts along certain sections of the E1 highway (see map below). The directive established that two convoys would depart in either direction each day during daylight hours with the support of at least three security force vehicles. Although travel can continue, members should reconsider non-essential road movement on the EN1 and EN6 highways and use air travel where possible until the authorities confirm that the situation has stabilised.
The authorities have attributed recent attacks in the area to Renamo, highlighting elevated risks to travellers linked to sporadic insurgent activity in central provinces. The attacks have continued despite the introduction of military convoys/escorts, suggesting the measure is not acting as a deterrent to the insurgents and that attacks will continue. Indeed, the measures may arguably increase risks to travellers as the security forces are often the primary targets of attack.
Renamo has previously announced its intention to organise marches to district and provincial government offices and to establish checkpoints on the EN1 and EN6 highways to monitor vehicles travelling to and from southern areas. Any such action would prompt a swift response from the security forces.
While a return to full-scale conflict remains unlikely, members in central provinces should monitor developments and exercise heightened vigilance, as the increased belligerence of Renamo rhetoric and attacks is liable to trigger a heightened security force posture, thereby elevating the risk of localised clashes and operations targeting Renamo strongholds. Travellers in the region should employ thorough journey management plans and account for delays due to heightened security and disruption prompted by convoys along routes.
Travel Advice Summary
• Travel to the country's central provinces (Manica, Nampula, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia) can continue with standard security precautions. Reconsider non-essential road movement on EN1 and EN6; use air travel where possible. Travel to rural areas requires a pre-travel, itinerary-specific briefing on prevailing security conditions and appropriate mitigation measures.
• Reconfirm the status of routes prior to departure, particularly if using EN1 and EN6. Expect delays due to the implementation of convoy requirements and consider the timing of movement.
• Journey-management plans are essential. Members should travel in daylight hours only and in a convoy of at least two vehicles with an experienced local driver and reliable communications. Exercise high levels of vigilance and be alert to any obstacles on the road or suspicious activity. If you see anything suspicious, turn around and return to a known secure area.
• Anticipate heightened security along major roads and in urban centres. Carry identification to ease passage through potential check-points and follow all directions by those manning them.