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An attack on a police station in Metuchira, central Mozambique, resulted in the death of a police officer, witnesses told Lusa on the spot, in a region where armed violence has increased in recent days.
The village of Metuchira is in the interior of Nhamatanda district, Sofala province, a region where on Sunday an attack on vehicles on the main road killed three people and where a police officer had already been shot on Wednesday of last week.
On Tuesday, gunshots were heard again 12km from the road that connects the port of Beira to inland countries, near the place where president, Filipe Nyusi launched on Monday the national agricultural planting campaign.
“We woke up because of the shooting and when it calmed down, we saw that the police station had been attacked,” a teacher from Metuchira told Lusa.
Another resident said that “there were many cries for help from the [police] post” when the attack began at about 5:00 a.m. leading to an “uncontrolled escape of the residents”.
A source from the Mozambican police in Sofala province told Lusa that a team had already been deployed there to investigate the incident.
This is the second attack against the police within a week after an officer was shot down during an attack against a patrol car between the districts of Nhamatanda and Gorongosa, on Wednesday.
With this confrontation, the number of fatalities caused since August by armed incursions has risen to eight, first against vehicles, but now intensified against civilian targets and those of the defence and security forces.
Central Mozambique has historically been the scene of armed confrontation between government forces and the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) until December 2016, when the guns fell silent and peace was sealed in an agreement signed on August 6.
An uncertain number of guerrillas remain in the zone, who have formed a self-proclaimed military junta to challenge Renamo’s leadership by Ossufo Momade and defend the renegotiation of its disarmament and reintegration into society.
The guerrilla group led by Mariano Nhongo has threatened more than once to resort to arms if it is not heard – but it also claims to be persecuted by other unknown elements.
Last week, after the attack on a patrol car, police said they assumed Nhongo’s group was responsible, but the group denied any involvement.
The armed violence led by unknown groups has occurred since August in some districts of central Mozambique, while the country’s defence and security forces also deal with armed attacks in Cabo Delgado, 1,000km to the north.
The confrontations in Cabo Delgado have been going on for two years and have already claimed around 250 lives.Source: Lusa