Mozambique: Renamo Ambushes in Sofala and Manica

Despite the formation of a Joint Commission between the Mozambican government and the Renamo rebels to prepare a meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, Renamo gunmen have continued to ambush traffic on the main roads in the centre of the country.

The police say there were three attacks in Sofala province between Saturday and Monday. According to Sofala police spokesperson Daniel Macuacua, cited by the independent television station STV, over the weekend Renamo gangs blocked roads and attacked trucks.

In one of these incidents, seven men, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, stopped a truck carrying timber, travelling from the town of Inhaminga to the port city of Beira. The gunmen threatened the occupants of the truck and stole their mobile phones, clothes and 58,000 meticais (about 950 US dollars) in cash. Later that day a Renamo group, possibly the same one, blocked this road with tree trunks.

On Monday, Renamo attacked a convoy under armed escort travelling on the main north-south highway (EN1) between the small town of Muxungue and the Save river. Macuacua said they opened fire on a Toyota Coaster minibus that was carrying passengers to the town of Maxixe.

The defence and security unit guarding the convoy returned fire. In this incident nobody was killed or injured, and minor damage was done to the minibus.

In the neighbouring province of Manica, Renamo on Monday attacked a convoy travelling on the main road between the cities of Tete and Chimoio. The head of the Manica police public relations department, Leonardo Colher, said the gunmen opened fire on several vehicle in the convoy, and hit the driver of a bus in the arm.

The driver lost control of the bus, which swerved off the road and overturned. 20 people were injured in this incident, eight of them seriously, but there were no deaths. Some of the injured received bullet wounds, while others suffered broken bones and other injuries when the bus crashed. The eight severely injured were treated in the Manica provincial hospital in Chimoio.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Maputo, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Inacio Dina, promised that the military escorts for the convoys will be strengthened in the areas most at risk.

If it was necessary to increase the number of convoys, the police would do so, he added, “because our greatest interest is the safety of the people travelling along the roads”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique