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REMEMBERING SAMORA MACHEL: 26 YEARS ON

Nicodemus Minde 

Machel, Julius Nyerere and Augustino Neto
It has been 26 years since liberation hero Samora Machel was assassinated by Apartheid South Africa. Machel struggled for the liberation of Mozambique throughout his life. 

A revolutionary leader, Machel carried out guerilla warfare to oust the Portuguese from Mozambique. In 1962 Machel joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique or FRELIMO, as it was called by most. FRELIMO was dedicated to creating an independent Mozambique. In 1963 Samora Machel left Mozambique and traveled to several other African nations where he received military training. In 1964 he returned to Mozambique and led FRELIMO's first guerilla attack against the Portuguese in northern Mozambique. Machel spent most of his time in the field with his men, leading them in combat and sharing their dangers and hardships. By 1970 Samora Machel became commander and chief of the Frelimo army. He believed in guerilla war and Frelimo's army established itself among the poor in Mozambique's.
 
Upon Mozambique’s independence in 1975 Samora Machel supported and allowed revolutionaries fighting white minority regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa to operate within Mozambique. Both of these countries attacked Mozambique with an anti-Frelimo organization called RENAMO. On October 19, 1986 Samora Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Zambia in the presidential Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft when the plane crashed in the Lebombo Mountains, near Mbuzini. 

Initial reports indicated that the president was alive after the crash and that he was poisoned thereafter. There is no doubt that the apartheid government led by the foreign ministry in South Africa. It has been 26 years but there is no official report on the death of this great African leader. Pik Botha, the apartheid foreign minister for 17 years, is said to be one of the top officials who arrived at the scene of the crash within 30 minutes, accompanied by a doctor from the "Seventh Medical Battalion" based in Pretoria. What else could he have gone to do at the crash site other than to confirm that Machel was no more.
The lies
·         South African foreign minister Pik Botha suggested that the Russian crew were high on      Vodka. But the alcohol concentration was found to be normal for a decomposing corpse.
·         Pik Botha said the plane was obsolete, which was far from the truth.
The Questions
Why was Pik Botha one of the first people to arrive on the crash site?
Did you know?
·         There was no weather vagaries contrary to earlier beliefs that that could have forced the plane to crash?
·         On that fateful night (October 19 1986), there was a significant concentration of South African Special Forces in the area. And there was a full military alert?
Bio of Samora Machel
Names: Machel, Samora
Born: 29 September 1933, village of Chilembene, Mozambique
Died: 20 October 1986, Border of Mozambique and South Africa

In summary: Politician and Freedom Fighter. Revolutionary leader of the Mozambican liberation movement FRELIMO and Mozambique's first President, killed in a controversial plane crash in 1986.

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