Alleged compulsory recruitment to fight insurgents creates a commotion in Maputo - report
Photo: O País
Gunmen killed a member of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) in Sofala province on Wednesday and set fire to the vehicle he was driving.
“The PRM provincial command in Sofala confirms that there was an attack yesterday in the locality of Matengo by armed individuals presumed to belong to the Renamo military junta led by Mariano Nhongo,” said Daniel Macuácua, spokesman of PRM in Sofala.
Macuácua said the group fired on a Mahindra police car belonging to the Republic of Mozambique Police that was tat the time occupied by four PRM members. One of them was shot dead.
Hours later police arrested one of the alleged members of the group, and seized a car and two motorbikes presumed to have been used by the perpetrators of the attack.
“After the incident a team was sent to the scene, and the work carried out ended with the arrest of an individual presumed to belong to this group, and the seizure of a car and two motorcycles that the individuals would have used in this raid,” he added.
A search aimed at identifying and neutralising the other members of the group is ongoing.
Nhongo distances himself from attack
Renamo Military junta chairman Mariano Nhongo yesterday denied any involvement in the attack.
“It wasn’t us,” Nhongo said. “I don’t know on what basis the police are assuming that the attack was carried out by the Military Junta. I am chairman of the junta and my men are under my command. We call on the police to identify those responsible and to punish them exemplarily instead of making ridiculous accusations. Look… Renamo is split. There i There is one group that is with Ossufo Momade and another that is with me. Maybe it was the Ossufo military. Look at how long they have been in the cantonment centres without food. It may have been them.”
By Francisco Raiva
EN1 attack on vehicle causes one death in central Mozambique
A driver has died in a new attack in Sofala province on a vehicle using National Road 1 (EN1), the road which connects the centre of Mozambique to the north, local sources tell Lusa.
An armed group of unknown composition fired on the vehicle in Ncondezi, near the bridge across the Púnguèna river in Nhamatanda district.
The vehicle was burnt out and the driver’s body found charred on the spot, witnesses interviewed yesterday by Lusa reported.
The same sources say that the vehicle in question was a green Defence and Security Forces Mahindra of the type the authorities use to patrol the region, which has been the locus of repeated attacks on buses and lorries since August.
Contacted by Lusa yesterday, the police in Sofala would not say whether the attack involved a FADM patrol car, but promised to issue a statement in Beira on Thursday.
Samuel Nhambanga, a driver who passed by shortly after the attack, said he heard gunfire when he was nearby, and was warned that an attack was underway by a truck driver who had escaped the immediate area unhurt.
“After a break, even more intense gunfire was heard,” Nhambanga added. Circulation was restored at about 8:00 a.m., two hours after the shooting began, he said.
Virgílio Sande, another passenger transport driver on the Inchope-Gorongosa route, said that, when he passed the scene, “the charred body of the Mahindra driver was there, and also three men, tied up and lying by the roadside.”
One resident told Lusa that hundreds of cars travelling in a southerly direction had formed queues at Inchope – a major crossroads in the centre of the country – since early morning, only proceeding with a police escort.
Vehicles have been the target of armed raids in the area of the attack since August, causing some injuries and three deaths, local authorities say.
Historically, central Mozambique was the scene of armed clashes between government forces and the main opposition Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) party right up until December 2016, when peace was sealed in an agreement signed on August 6th.
An undefined number guerrillas support the self-proclaimed Military Junta, which challenges Renamo’s leadership and is seeking the renegotiation of its disarmament and reintegration into society.
The guerrilla group has threatened more than once to resort to violence if its claims are not met, while also maintaining that it is itself being persecuted by persons unknown.Source: O País / Voa Portugues / Lusa
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