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Mozambican police on Thursday blamed the Mozambican National Resistance, Mozambique’s main opposition party, for the armed attack that killed two people on Wednesday in central Mozambique, though the party has denied its involvement.
“Armed Renamo men in Gondola district, Pindanganga, fired at a passenger transport vehicle,” Manica provincial command spokesman Mario Arnança said at a press conference.
Police confirmed just one death, without mentioning a second victim, a woman who was hit by stray bullets on her farm during the attack, according to witnesses and neighbours who contacted Lusa at the scene moments after the attack.
Three other people were injured, two seriously, by gunfire from the forest nearby.
“There is no difference between armed men led by citizen [Mariano] Nhongo and armed men led by Ossufo Momade. They are all armed Renamo men in action – there is no distinction,” Arnanca added.
Nhongo is the Renamo guerrilla leader who disowned the party structure in June and announced the creation of his dissident armed group.
According to the police spokesman, Defence and Security Forces in the area of the attack were reinforced in order to guarantee security and hunt down the perpetrators, who “naturally live in their bases, and the police are aware of this”.
Contacted by Lusa yesterday, Renamo spokesman José Manteigas reiterated the party’s denial of the attacks, reiterating that the party was “committed to peace”. “Renamo armed men are stationed in Gorongosa, waiting for reintegration,” Manteigas said.
“If the Defence and Security Forces are unable to defeat this group [the self-proclaimed Renamo military junta], then do not blame Renamo for the attacks,” Manteigas added, insisting that Renamo is committed to the peace agreement and has acted in good faith to preserve it.
Lusa tried to contact the leader of the dissident Renamo group, Mariano Nhongo, but without success.
With the two deaths in Wednesday’s attack, the death toll since August has risen to ten as a result of armed attacks on vehicles and against civilian targets and the defence and security forces.
The central part of the country has historically been the scene of armed confrontation between government forces and Renamo, up until December 2016, when a ceasefire came into force, sealed in the agreement signed on 6 August.
An uncertain number of guerrillas led by Mariano Nhongo remain in the area zone, and challenge Ossufo Momade’s leadership of Renamo, demanding the renegotiation of the disarmament and reintegration agreement.
Nhongo’s group has threatened more than once to resort to arms if its demands are not considered, simultaneously claiming to be persecuted in turn by other individuals.
A similar scenario happened in the region in the 2015 post-electoral period, when former Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama rejected the Frelimo electoral victory, but denied involvement in subsequent clashes.Source: Lusa
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