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A group of journalists escorted by the Defence and Security Forces have visited the Gorongosa mountain range to witness the withdrawal of government troops from the eight positions mentioned by President Nyusi in compliance with the truce negotiated with Renamo.
Surmounting difficulties of access, journalists verified the absence of government forces in the Nhamadjiwa, Nhachenge, MaPanga-Panga, Nhancunga, Lourenço, Mangueiras and Nhariroza positions, and their continued presences in Nhamadjiwa, Nhariroza and Magueiras.
The commander in charge of government troops in Gorongosa, Wandy Wan Bedford, however stated on Wednesday that all positions from which Renamo claims to have withdrawn had already been decommissioned.
Bedford’s statements contrasting with the facts on the ground, journalists insisted yesterday on meeting the government-Renamo joint committee group monitoring the truce.
Members of the committee differed as to the extent of the withdrawal. Head of the government team, Borges Nordino, said that the troops had been deactivated in full. “We have been working for about two months and we have already verified the withdrawal of the forces in the positions agreed between the Renamo leader and President Nyusi,” Nordino said.
But Joao Buca, Renamo’s representative in the Joint Commission, denied this. “The positions are not being withdrawn. They are just changing places,” Buca said. By way of illustration, he said: ” Nhauranga, MaPanga-Panga and Nhauchenge positions were withdrawn and, according to the people and FDS who accompanied us, clearly they were still in Mangueiras.”
Confronted with this, Badford retreated from his initial version and admitted that the troops were moved to Satungira so technically remained in the same zone.
“Some forces taken from some positions we passed were sent to Santungira, while others returned to their original units,” Bedford said.
The joint committee is composed of eight members, four from the government and four from Renamo.
The government side is headed by Colonel Borges Nordino, along with Zeca Cebolinho (colonel), Raul Wamusse (chief superintendent) and Viriato Tamele (lieutenant colonel).
The Renamo group is led by João Buca, assisted by Carlos Esquivar Lead (major), Brito Colete (lieutenant colonel) and Augusto Pahiwac (major).Source: O País / STV
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