Mozambique: Police Deny Clash With Renamo Over Tourmalines

Maputo – The Mozambican police have denied reports that government forces have clashed with gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo when the latter tried to occupy a tourmaline mine in the Mavonde area, in the central province of Manica.

The Manica provincial police commander, Armando Canheze, noted on Friday that reports in some of the media claimed that Renamo had taken control of the mine after heavy fighting with the defence and security forces.

Canheze categorically denied this version. He told reporters that in reality, after the recent discovery of the tourmaline deposit, illegal miners, some of them Mozambicans and others of foreign nationalities, descended on the area to extract the semi-precious stones.

As part of the fight against illegal mining, he added, the police were mobilised to restore order in the area, in an operation which culminated with several arrests.

“Right now some of the miners have been detained”, said Canheze. “We don’t know whether they’re from Renamo or not. What we are doing is working to maintain order in that area. The detainees were among the group exploiting the mineral.

We have both Mozambican and foreign citizens in the group”.

Canheze said the situation has now returned to normal. The police are still present, controlling the area.

“The communities have understood that we are there only to maintain order and tranquillity”, he added.

Source: All Africa