Mozambique: Policemen Injured in Renamo Ambush in Zambezia

Gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo injured two members of the riot police when they ambushed a bus in Zambezia province, about 30 kilometres north of the Zambezi river, on Friday.

According to a report on the independent television station STV, the bus was travelling from the northern city of Pemba to Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica. The injured men were treated at the Zambezia provincial hospital in Quelimane.

One of the victims, Adriano Galibo, told reporters “It was all very quick. When we were about 30 kilometres from the Zambezi, the shooting began, and I was hit in the arm”.

Hospital sources described the condition of both men as stable. However, Galibo will still require a great deal of medical care. The bullet broke his arm, and then lodged in his thorax, a few centimetres from his heart. “He is very lucky the bullet did not destroy his lungs or hearts”, said one medical source.

Meanwhile tourist operators in the southern province of Inhambane say that the military tensions have led to the closure of six tourist resorts in Vilankulo district. Vilankulo itself has not been the stage of any Renamo activity, but tourists have become reluctant to use the main north-south highway to reach Vilankulo.

At a meeting between the tourist operators and the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, Gabriel Cossa, of the Vilankulo Tourism Forum, warned that more establishments are likely to close their doors, since they regard the situation as “unsustainable”.

Cossa said that tourists used to come to Vilankulo from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Their journey involves travelling along the north-south highway through Sofala province, where there have been regular Renamo ambushes, and many tourists are no longer prepared to take that risk.

Tourism is a mainstay of the economy of Inhambane province, and the chairperson of the Inhambane Business Council, Amade Osman, warned that, unless peace is re-established, the province faces a bleak future.

When there are no tourists, he said, the tourist operators cannot pay such costs as their workers’ wages. In some cases, wages had not been paid for the past six months. “Under these circumstances, there is no alternative but to close”, said Osman.

Resorts on the Bazaruto archipelago, off the Inhambane coast, are an exception to this grim picture. Because most of their clients reach the archipelago by air, they are not affected by the Renamo ambushes, and some of the hotels are recording 100 per cent occupancy rates.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique