Mozambique: Renamo members again contest party leadership in Zambezia
Voa (File photo) / A file photograph of the ambush on Dhlakama's convoy in Zimpinga, Gondola district, Manica province, on September 26 2015.
At least 12 Renamo members were killed in the first three months of 2016 in Gorongosa, central Mozambique, including the motorbike riders that were securing logistic supplies to party leader Afonso Dhlakama, who returned to his Gorongosa base early in January.
The deaths are attributed to death squads, who, according to Renamo, are trying to cut off their leader’s logistics, usually carried out by groups of young people known as “taxi-bikes” (“moto-taxis”) and isolate him from popular support.
A Renamo member in Gorongosa told VOA that several people have been killed in recent months for being “fanatics” of the main opposition party and giving food support to Dhlakama and his men.
“They are going around killing people, including those who used to go receive the Renamo president when he made working visits to the provinces. Women and men, they are killing them,” the same official said.
The source said that nine people were taken from their homes and executed In Canda, Gorongosa, in February, along with a man who hoisted the party’s flag in the Mapombwe neighbourhood of Gorongosa village.
On 27 March a demobilized Renamo man was shot dead after being dragged off a public transport vehicle on his way to his farm (machamba) in the district.
On 28 March, two young motorbike riders were caught during day-time long with their taxi-bikes, their capturers allegedly claiming that “it is you who are taking food and giving it to (Afonso) Dhlakama”. They were executed at Macossa crossroads, 50 kilometres from Gorongosa and their motorbikes burned at the scene.
The same source also said that on April 8, two other men were killed in the administrative post of Vunduzi during a new bombardment of the party leader’s base, accused of being sympathisers and informers of the Renamo leader.
Renamo spokesman Antonio Muchanga confirmed the executions and said that Gorongosa has been especially targeted to undermine popular support for the party.
“There are situations that we can report, and there are situations that we cannot report. There are situations of people abducted in certain areas who are killed in other areas,” Muchanga said. “Gorongosa is the favourite place. Twelve dead members’ bodies were picked up there, eight of whom were not from Gorongosa. They were transferred there from other areas.”
Muchanga also said that a new practice is to throw the bodies into rivers, making it difficult for them to be found and the executions recorded.
On Saturday 9 April, a senior member of Renamo’s military wing and member of the state Defence and Security Council was shot dead outside Beira city airport, from where he was said to have been intending to go meet Dhlakama in Gorongosa.
Renamo had threatened to rule by force in six provinces of central and northern Mozambique during March, but since last month political and military violence has increased in the country, with death squads and attacks on vehicles columns escorted by the army in two sections of the N1 in Sofala.Source: Voa Portugues
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