Maputo – The French embassy in Maputo last week advised against travelling to the troubled central Mozambican province of Sofala, the centre of the unrest between the Renamo rebel group and government forces.

The advice follows renewed hostilities after the army seized a Renamo base during a raid on Monday, prompting the group to declare the end of a two-decade peace deal that ended the country’s civil war in 1992.

Renamo claimed the attack was aimed at killing their leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

“We advise against any road travel in the province of Sofala, except Beira, unless necessary,” said an embassy statement.

The French embassy said it was working closely with other EU member states and the US embassy to monitor political and security developments in Mozambique.

No foreign nationals have so far been caught up in the violence, according to the statement.

Hours after the Monday attack, Renamo responded by staging a pre-dawn attack on a police station near the base, forcing officers to flee. They demand that the army withdraw from its bush base.

Tensions have been escalating between Renamo, the rebel group-turned-opposition party and the government of ruling party Frelimo since last year, and Renamo set up camp in the central Gorongosa mountains.

They have been threatening to take up arms against Frelimo, accusing it of seizing the country’s riches.

The unrest which is currently confined to the central region has sparked fears of renewed fighting between the old war time foes.

Renamo is demanding a bigger role in the affairs of the country and has staged numerous deadly attacks since returning to the bush.