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Sofrimentog Matequenha, former Renamo deputy and provincial delegate in the province of Manica. [File photo: Social Media]
Sofrimento Matequenha was kidnapped at his residence in a suburb of Chimoio, in Manica.
The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), the country’s main opposition party, wants a more thorough explanation from the police about the alleged involvement of security agents in the kidnapping of Sofrimento Matequenha, a former deputy and the provincial Renamo delegate in the central province of Manica.
“We expect the police to say something and not just deny [involvement], because that is not enough,” Eduardo Leite, a spokesman for Renamo in Manica, told a press conference this Tuesday (15-12).
Sufrimento Matequenha was kidnapped from his residence early on Sunday evening (13-12), the family revealed. An armed group dressed in police uniforms invaded his home in the Nhamaonha neighbourhood, a suburb of Chimoio, the provincial capital of Manica, and took him away in a black vehicle with tinted windows, the politician’s wife, Lurdes Inácio, said.
Leite says the kidnapping may be linked to suspicions that Matequenha is connected with the self-proclaimed Renamo ‘Military Junta’, the splinter group behind attacks on villages and civil transport in the centre of the country which have left at least 30 dead since August, 2019.
Leite even goes so far as to say that the police must prove that they are “not the perpetrators of the abduction”. “Whoever accuses has the right to accuse, but whoever says ‘no’ also has a duty to prove it, and that has not yet happened. What happened was the police denying the kidnapping, and saying that the wife should lodge a complaint,” he explained.
Without clarifying whether she recognised any of the kidnappers’ faces, the wife described them as policemen on the basis of their uniforms, boots, weapons and the way they handled their weapons.
Silva Matequenha, the politician’s brother, said he had sought information about the whereabouts of the former deputy and party provincial delegate at police sub-units in Chimoio, but without success.
Police deny participation
Police in Manica have denied the participation of corporation agents in the kidnapping of the politician, claiming that “the corporation exists to guarantee order and public tranquillity, regardless of political affiliations”, according to spokesman Mário Arnaça.
Leite also denies that the kidnapping is related to internal Renamo frictions, insisting that the party has been reporting the kidnapping and murder of members and leaders for several years, without any cases being clarified.
“We are always concerned. We do not know who is going to be kidnapped tomorrow, or after that, and that worries us,” he said.
“We [Renamo] have never had a kidnapping case where the victim returned to our lives,” Leite said, calling on the kidnappers to stop their attacks so that the party could concentrate on its political work.