Mozambique: More Ambushes By ‘Renamo Military Junta’

Maputo — Gunmen, believed to be part of the dissident “Renamo Military Junta”, on Monday morning attacked a bus in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, injuring four people, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Carta de Mocambique”.

The bus, carrying 50 passengers, was travelling from Maputo to the central city of Quelimane. It was attacked on the main north-south highway (EN1) between Inchope and Gorongosa. No-one was killed in the attack, and the injured are receiving care in the Manica provincial hospital, in Chimoio.

The driver of the bus, Alfredo Simoes, said he had heard shots and screams from the passengers, and decided to drive straight through the ambush. “When I realised they were shots, I accelerated the bus until we reached the Gorongosa district health centre”, Simoes told reporters. “Three of the passengers were injured with bullets hitting various parts of their bodies, and I was also hit with shrapnel in my head and back”.

This follows three attacks last week, which were claimed by the leader of the Junta, Mariano Nhongo. Cited by the German agency “DW Africa”, he claimed the attacks were intended to halt “barbaric actions by government troops against civilians”.

But all the attacks were against civilian vehicles on the stretch of ENI between Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts.

In his “DW Africa” interview, Nhongo demanded that government troops must not “circulate armed through the villages, threatening the public”, at a time when Renamo militiamen are supposed to be disarmed and reintegrated into society.

The problem with this argument is that Nhongo’s group has refused to take part in the disarming and demobilisation of Renamo, and does not recognise the peace agreement signed in August last year between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade. Nhongo has called Momade a “traitor” and has threatened to murder him.

He claimed that the military junta “does not want war. Wherever it goes it is not massacring people. The junta only defends itself when government soldiers attack it”.

He demanded that government troops stay in their barracks. “But since they are all the time in convoys seeking to kill people, then the wages of sin is death”, he declared.

Nhongo claimed that Renamo members and delegates are being beaten and murdered in the western province of Tete, because members of the Military Junta have been seen there setting up military bases in the province.

The administrators of the Tete districts of Maravia and Chifunde, he alleged, “are setting up groups that go to the houses of Renamo members, tie them up and oblige them to hand over money. If they don’t do so, they are killed”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique