Fears that Mozambique is on the brink of a return to civil war have intensified after government troops attacked the HQ of opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama.
In retaliation his Renamo former rebel group launched an assault on police station in Maringue.
Reports suggest police abandoned their positions after coming under heavy gunfire.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama is at large deep in the jungle:
Tomás Vieira Mário is a political analyst:
“It is believed that Dhlakama abandoned his base, in a hurry with no time to issue orders or give clear instructions to his men, wherever they are. The retaliation may have come about without an order from the top.”
The US government has called on both sides to take steps to refrain from further hostilities.
Mozambique was gripped by a brutal civil war following its independence from Portugal in 1975.
The strife between the now ruling Frelimo party and Renamo left around 1 million people dead.
In 1992 the parties agreed a peace deal in Rome and since then
the country has shown signs of stability and growth.
Tension has been on the rise since April and June after alleged Renamo militia killed 11 soldiers and police and six civilians and halted coal exports sent by rail to the coast.