Mozambique: Gunmen Ambush Police in Barue

Gunmen of the largest opposition party Renamo injured two policemen in an ambush on 20 February in the Mutamba region of Barue district, in the central province of Manica.

The police were patrolling a stretch of national highway, the N7, that runs from the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio to the city of Tete. This is one of the roads which Renamo publicly threatened to block a fortnight ago.

The Manica provincial police commander, Armando Mude, confirmed that two policemen were slightly injured in the ambush which occurred at about 12.00.

He told reporters that over a week ago the police became aware of Renamo movements in Mutamba, and in reaction stepped up patrols along the N7.

Mude said that after this incident calm returned to Mutamba. He dismissed the ambush as mere banditry, and insisted that security along the road is guaranteed.

The N7 is used by people travelling overland from Maputo or Beira to Malawi and Zambia via Chimoio and Tete.

Further east, the police on 20 February introduced a system of convoys under armed escort on a stretch of the main north-south highway (EN1) between Nhamapadza, in Maringue district, and Caia on the south bank of the Zambezi.

This is the second stretch of EN1 in Sofala province where vehicles can only move safely in armed convoys. The first convoy was introduced on 17 February between the Save River, and the small town of Muxungue.

In both cases, there are four convoys a day, one in each direction in the morning and in the afternoon. The convoys only operate in the hours of daylight.

The Nhamapadza-Caia convoy was introduced after successive attacks by Renamo gunmen against civilian vehicles on this stretch of road on 18 and 19 February. The attacks led to the death of one person, burnt alive in his truck, and injuries, some of them serious, to six others.

The police believe the Renamo gangs responsible for these attacks have bases at Sanzala in Maringue, and at Doro, in Caia.

Source: All Africa