Hidden debts: PGR acting "in defence of Mozambican State" - AIM report
FILE - Mariano Nhongo, leader of the Military Junta, a Renamo splinter group, has not been seen in public for the past eight months. [File photo. DW]
Three armed attacks on National Road No. 1, on the border between Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts in Pungué, were reported on Thursday and Friday of last week. A week earlier, there was another attack, on the police post in the small village of Grudja, Buzi district, Sofala province, in central Mozambique.
Thursday’s (12-03) attack targeted a passenger bus from Maputo to Quelimane, in Zambezia province. Marta António was on the bus when passengers were surprised by an ambush.
“Near Pungwe, [towards] Gorongosa, they started attacking on all sides. Suddenly, I saw that a bullet had entered my arm,” she says.
Bus driver Alfredo Simões saved his more-than 50 passengers by accelerating away. “When I realised it was gunshots, I accelerated and sped all the way to Gorongosa District Health Centre. I had three injured passengers with bullet wounds, and I also got a splinter in my head.”
None of these attacks have been reported by the authorities. But Mariano Nhongo, leader of the self-proclaimed military junta, despite not unequivocally assuming responsibility for the attacks, says the actions are aimed at curbing excesses perpetrated by the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) in the country’s rural areas.
“The wages of sin is death”
A dissident from the country’s largest opposition party, Nhongo says that government forces cannot go around the villages, armed and threatening the population, in the midst of the disarmament and reintegration of his [former] party combatants.
“The Military Junta does not want war. It goes to [the places] where they [Frelimo soldiers] go. They are not massacring people; they only defend themselves when the government military comes to attack them,” Nhongo explains.
“Those soldiers who struck down in Pungée, where were they going? From where were they coming, and going where? The military are in barracks, but they constantly patrol, looking for people to kill. So the wages of sin is death,” he adds.
“Frelimo, the party in power, is always “full” [interested in killing the members] of Renamo. And they defend themselves. Even in civilian life, if someone punches you, don’t you hit back?” Nhongo, who has not been seen in public for the eight months since he challenged the Renamo leadership, asks.
Violence against Renamo members?
The Renamo dissident complains of the beating, murder and harassment of Renamo delegates and members in the central province of Tete, which took place when members of the military junta were seen passing through villages in Zumbo and Maravia as they went to set up bases in the region.
At the same time, Mozambican citizens are already fleeing to neighbouring Zambia, Nhomgo says. “The day before yesterday, a Renamo delegate was tied up, beaten, robbed and abandoned. Some penniless Renamo members are already in Zambia – in Zumbo, Maravia and Chifunde. Many Renamo members are already in Zambia, fleeing the killing.”
“Administrators in Marávia and Chifunde continue to set up groups which go round the homes of Renamo members, tying them up and forcing them to hand over money. If they don’t, they are killed,” Nhongo says.
“The Military Junta is calling on the Zumbo administrator, the Zumbo chief of [administrative] post, Zumbo district commander, Maravia district commander and Chifunde police commander to stop these acts. It is not good,” Nhongo demands.
“Tomorrow, when the Military Junta establishes bases in Chifunde, in Domwé, in Maravia, Frelimo will begin to claim that Renamo is attacking cars, or that the people can no longer travel safely, when they are the ones who are provoking conflict. How long is this going to catty on?” he asks.
Reports on Monday (16-03) indicate that two goods vehicles were attacked in the same region yesterday morning. A teenager was injured, but is receiving medical care at the provincial hospital in Manica.