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DW (File photo) / Rapid Intervention Force armoured car
Rapid Intervention Force (FIR) police were called to Inhassunge this weekend, where protests against the resettlement required for the exploitation of heavy sands had erupted. One person was killed and two were seriously injured.
Following the weekend incidents, the Rapid Intervention Force is still in place. According to residents, the atmosphere in Olinda village, Inhassunge district, in the centre of the country, is one of panic, with some inhabitants having fled their homes.
“The police arrived here on Saturday, July 28, at 2:00 p.m. When they arrived, they started beating people and shooting, and grabbing their mobile phones,” Virgilio Armando, one of the residents says. “A lot of people passed out – children, women and men,” he says.
Inhassunge district has been the scene of protests following concessioning to a Chinese company to extract heavy sands. Not all members of the community agree with the amount of compensation provided for in the resettlement process.
It is not the first time that there have been conflicts between the FIR and the population over the exploitation of mineral resources in Zambézia. Earlier this month, government officials were stoned by residents, also in Inhassunge.
But for Armando, this weekend was “the worst. We were only going to ask the reason for the police presence in the neighbourhood when the shooting began,” he reports. “The régulos [traditional chiefs] and some of the others have fled. We are sad. It is not a good environment,” he complains.
The police command in Zambézia, through spokesman Sidner Lonzo, confirmed on Monday (30-07) that the conflict that resulted in the death of a Mualane resident. “This death was because of the force that the population used, and the police took measures equivalent to the threat,” he said.
“The police were called in to intervene in a situation, and the people there rioted, throwing stones and assagais [spears]. The police responded to the threat that was occurring at that moment,” he said.
The spokesman insisted that “the police did not shoot the population. What they did was to stem the threat”. “The disorder is the result of the population claiming the land that will be used by a company that has been authorised to make use of natural resources by the provincial and district governments,” Lonzo explained.Deutsche Welle
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