Mozambique: Alleged Junta Recruiter Denies Charges

 

Maputo — The man who allegedly recruited Mozambicans from the central district of Marromeu to join the self-styled “Renamo Military Junta”, Antonio Bauase, told a court on Wednesday that the only recruitment he did was for a private security company and not for the Military Junta.

This was the second day of the trial, by the Dondo District Court in Sofala province, of six people charged with conspiracy against the security of the Mozambican state, through their support for the Military Junta. The Junta is a breakaway from the country’s main opposition party Renamo, which rejects the peace agreement signed last August by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade.

Before Bauase gave evidence, three other accused, Aniva Joaquim, Gabriel Domingos and his brother Eugenio Domingos, had all denied that they had anything to do with the Junta. They said they were indeed recruited – but only to fill vacancies in a private security company called “Mambas”, owned by another co-accused, a former Renamo parliamentary deputy, Sandura Ambrosio.

According to the report of the trial in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Bauase told the court that in September 2019, Ambrosio told him he needed trustworthy people, who had completed at least seven years of primary education, and who possessed an identity card and a tax number (NUIT), to work in his security company.

Bauase told Ambrosio he was involved in the Renamo campaign for the general elections scheduled for 15 October,and so he had no time to deal with this request.

But after the elections, in November, Ambrosio contacted him again. He promised money to cover the train fares of the recruits, but in December he ran into financial difficulties, and suggested that Bauase take out a loan.

Ambrosio’s promise of repayment was enough for Bauase to press ahead with recruitment, and so he promised jobs to Aniva Joaquim and the brothers Gabriel and Eugenio Domingos.

They all took a train from Marromeu to Dondo on 4 January. On arrival at Dondo station, said Bause, he received instructions by phone to catch a bus to Nhamatanda district. In the Nhamatanda area of Macorococho, Ambrosio would meet them.

The three recruits were unhappy at this change of plans and decided to postpone their journey to Nhamatanda to the following day. But before they had a chance to leave Dondo station, the police arrived, and arrested all four of them.

Bauase said that, when ne was in Beira central prison, Ambrosio had contacted him to ask him to take the blame for everything, and to deny all knowledge of his co-accused. Ambrosio urged Bauase to say nothing about his security company. When he refused to go along with this, Ambrosio threatened him. Bauase claimed that Ambrosio made the request on the suggestion of his lawyers.

Bauase said he had met the head of the Military Junta, Mariano Nhongo, at the Renamo Congress held in January 2019. This was months before the formation of the Military Junta, and Bauase said he had never met Nhongo in his capacity as leader of the Junta.

Bauase had initially confessed, but now told the court his confession was made under duress, after he was beaten by policemen at the back of the Dondo District Police Command. He said the police threatened to kill him unless he confessed to collaborating with Nhongo. So he went along with the prosecution, and said that the true purpose of the planned visit to Macorococho was to join the Junta.

The Dondo judge, Carlito Teofilo, was sceptical, and asked if the investigating magistrate had also tortured him. Bauase replied that she had not.

Bauase will continue his testimony on Friday, and on that day Sandura Ambrosio is also due to testify.

 

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique