MAPUTO Nov 1 London-listed Rio Tinto
said on Friday it was withdrawing expatriate employees' families
from Mozambique over safety concerns, but its coal mining and
shipment operations in the southern African state were
The move reflected growing international alarm over
insecurity in Mozambique, which has seen an upsurge in
kidnappings in major cities and where government forces have
clashed with Renamo opposition guerrillas in the centre and the
"The safety of employees and their families is the number
one priority," Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique said in a statement
announcing the precaution, which it said was temporary.
It added: "Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique's operations continue
as planned, including the shipment of coal."
The London-listed company, along with Brazil's Vale
, mines coal in northwest Tete province and ships it by
rail to the coast for export.
In June, Rio Tinto briefly suspended coal exports because of
threats by Renamo, which is demanding political reforms from
President Armando Guebuza's government, to disrupt rail traffic.
Since April, Renamo guerrillas have carried out ambushes and
raids against civilians and on police and army posts in central
On Thursday, tens of thousands of Mozambicans marched in the
capital Maputo and two other cities to protest against the
threat of armed conflict in the country and the spate of
kidnappings for ransom by criminal gangs.