By Iain Christie
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Mondlane, dos Santos and the exile groups were joined at the Dar es Salaam meeting by representatives of another very important section of Mozambican nationalism. These were people who had left the country more recently and who had a more up-to-date understanding of the in ternal situation. They included student militants such as Joaquim Chissano, who had been a NESAM activist in Loureno Marques and was now President The birth of Frelimo of the National Union of Mozambican Students (UNEMO), an or ganization set up by former NESAM members who had gone to study abroad - in Chissano's case, Paris.
Here they sta tioned a unit of crack troops. The terrain along the Ruvuma valley is indeed rather rough, with steep mountain climbs on either side and crocodiles in the river itself but Frelimo crossed it with ease. Indeed, in the years to come Machel frequently escorted journalists (including this author) and invited guests down the cliffs on the Tanzanian side, wading across the river with trousers under his arm, into a canoe at the deeper parts, then up the crags on the other side and into the liberated areas on the Mueda Plateau.
My shot would be the signal to the other comrades to attack. The attack took place at 21 hours. , opened the door and came out - he was shot and killed. Apart from him, six other Portuguese were killed in the first attack. The explanation given by the Por tuguese authorities was 'death by misadventure'. We withdrew. On the following day we were pursued by some troops - but by that time we were far away, and they failed to find us. 1 Not exactly Pearl Harbour. Some foreign observers were distinctly cynical about Frelimo's chances of achieving anything at all.