Deep in the "white heartland" of Mozambique, where the African guerrillas of the Frelimo movement are making increasing attacks on rail and road links and the fortified villages (aldeamentos), new tactics are being tried by the Portuguese Army.
SV, MV & CU Troops on horseback ride past (3 shots)
SV & MV Riders down gully and up other side (4 shots)
MV Dog led by trainer through hoops
MV Dog jumps fence
MV Dog being baited by "attacker" who runs off followed by dog
CU Dog holding on to arm pad and handler pulls dog away
SV Amphibious armoured car enters water
MV Wash of vehicle PAN TO commander
MV Another armoured car in water
TV FROM Armoured car as it approaches land and MV driving up from water (2 shots)
Initials BB/1801 RS/DE/BB/1824
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Deep in the "white heartland" of Mozambique, where the African guerrillas of the Frelimo movement are making increasing attacks on rail and road links and the fortified villages (aldeamentos), new tactics are being tried by the Portuguese Army.
In the corridor form the East African port of Beria through the Vila Pery central district to the Rhodesian frontier, Portuguese troops are using horseback patrols, specially trained Alsation dogs and new amphibious armoured cars -- the "Chaimite" -- to protect communications along this new southern Frelimo front line.
Many experts believe the Mozambique's future will be decided in this corridor and that if the Frelimo advance cannot be held, there is little to stop guerrilla forces penetrating further south to the capital Lourenco Marques.
At least five times this year so far the railway line between Umtali and Beria -- Rhodesia's main link to the outside world -- has been cut by guerrilla attacks.
In January a farmer's wife near Vila Manica was hacked to death and in Vila Pery, the district capital, farmers demonstrated for greater protection by the Portuguese after attacks on farms. The increased attacks and greater feeling of insecurity in Mozambique comes at a time of controversy following the publication of a book "Portugal and the Future" by General Antonio Spinole, recently appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and a former commander in chief in Guinea-Bissau. General Spinole argues that no military solution was possible in Mozambique, Angola or Guinea-Bissau. He advocated a peaceful solution through a loose federation of Portuguese states.
General Spinole and his superior Chief of Staff General Costa Gomes, who was known to support his deputy's views, were both dismissed.
Meanwhile small groups of horse soldiers are daily patrolling beautiful countryside around Vila Pery to at least try to contain the war their ex-military leaders say can never be won.
SYNOPSIS: A small Portuguese patrol rides through beautiful country near Vila Pery, in Mozambique. They are alert and watchful.
This area -- the corridor stretching from Beria on the coast to Via Manica near the Rhodesian border -- is regarded as the "white heartland" of the country.
But now the corridor is the new front line in the fight against the African guerrillas of the Fremlimo movement. And experts believe it is here the battle for Mozambique will be won or lost. If it is not held, the capital Lourence Marques would be in danger. These horseback patrols are part of the new tactics by the Portuguese troops to control the land along the vital rail and road link between Beria on the coast and Salisbury, Rhodesia.
Another new tactic - the increased use of highly trained and highly agile Alsatian dogs as part of the Army security operation.
The dogs are trained to perform prodigious feats. And their skills will become more Necessary.
For attacks have come against farms near Vila Pery, the district capital. And local farmers have demonstrated demanding more protection by the Portuguese Army. The number of attacks on the fortified villages around Beria have been running at the rate of six or seven a night.
At shot range the Alsations could become a formidable weapon of attack as well as defence.
And in an attempt to improve their hold on the corridor -- the Portuguese have introduced a new amphibious armoured car, the "Chaimite".
Another ten thousand troops have been moved into Mozambique. But it's a time of controversy and insecurity. The Deputy Chief of Staff General Antonio de Spinole was dismissed this month, after writing there was no military solution in Portuguese Africa -- and advocating a peaceful one involving a loose federation of Portuguese states. Which leaves these soldiers to contain a bloody war their ex-commanders think is impossible to win.