Mozambique: Renamo Stepping Up Attacks

The Defence Ministry says there were 17 Renamo attacks in five provinces between 8 July and 18 August. There were 4 attacks in Sofala, 3 each in Niassa, Zambezia and Tete and 2 in Manica, as well as isolated killings in Inhambane. (AIM En 19 Aug) There were three more attacks Saturday. In his interview in Savana (19 Aug), AfonsoDhlakama said that the increase in attacks spread across the country was to force the government to spread out its troops and reduce their concentration near his Gorongosa base. “This is a military strategy,” he said. “It’s in the books.”

Meanwhile Filipe Nyusi travelled to Mancia as part of a new policy of holding rallies in war affected areas. He arrived by helicopter, but journalists and others travelled by road. Cars carrying journalists to a Nyusi rally in Macossa, Manica, were shot at on 12 August on the N7 in Chiuala, Barue, Manica. This is a zone of frequent attacks and is on the part of the N7 between Vanduzi, Manica, and Changara, Tete, with military convoys. (Lusa 12 Aug). Savana (19 Aug) reported that in the convoy there were also cars from the state electricity company EDM carrying soldiers. And in his Savana (19 Aug) interview, Dhlakama claimed that four members of the riot police (FIR, Forca de IntervencaoRapida, also known as Unidade de IntervencaoRapida) were killed in that attack. He added that anyone who goes on a convoy knows they are “entering a zone of 100% risk” because this is a war zone, thus it is their own fault if they are shot.

The various press reports also make clear that on the government side the war is being fought by the riot police, which is a seen as a trained and loyal paramilitary force, and not by the army, which is not trusted and seems limited to shelling Gorongosa. For example Diario da Zambezia and Zitamar (15 Aug) report that after an attack on Morrumbala town, Zambezia, on 12 August in which the police station was occupied and 23 prisoners freed, the district office attacked, and medicines taken from the local hospital, that two FIR brigades were moved from Sabe and Nicoadala to Morrumbala.

Other recent attacks:

Muaquia, Majune, Niassa – 20 August – attack by group of 13; one raider shot and captured.

Trinta, Localidade Zero, Morrumbala, Zambezia – 20 August – two attacks, houses burned.

Mepinha, Morrumbala, Zambezia – 18 August – public buildings attacked, no details. (AIM En 19 Aug)

Barue, Manica – 13 or 14 August – N7 convoy attacked, 1 dead. Reported that attacks are frequent.

Nhamatanda, Sofala – 11 August – police repel an attack and detain one person.

Mboza, Moatize, Tete – 1 August – police station attacked and car burned

88 companies closed in Zambezia due to the war and economic crisis, putting 319 people out of work. Beira port has suffered a sharp reduction in traffic due to attacks on the railway and roads. (Noticas 17, 19 Aug) PrakashPrehlad, head of the Beira commercial association, said when you walk down the street it is obvious that businesses have closed because of the war. (O Pais 18 Aug)

Portucel wrote off Euros 14.5 mn from the value of its timber plantations in Mozambique, because “the political and economic situation in the country is unstable, which presents additional challenges, in terms of the safety of everyone involved and also the security of supplies of products, materials and services needed for the project. Pressure on the Metical has resulted in inflation, a problem which became serious in 2015 and continues to increase.” A major Portucel plantation is being developed in Barue, Manica, where there have been repeated attacks.

Refugees:There are still 4,400 refugees from Tete and Zambezia living in two camps in Malawi, down from a peak of 11,500, according to a report from the Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH). Most refugees interviewed by LDH said they were fleeing the war, and most of those blamed government forces. LDH says there were reports of 13 people (eight in Tete and five in Zambezia) who were summarily executed by the government forces, because they were believed to be members or supporters of Renamo. Many of the interviewees accused the defence forces of burning and vandalizing houses and barns. LDH also identified three people murdered by Renamo. The report was released on 18 August.

Who killed 6 in Cheringoma?

Six people were killed when there car was stopped at Nangue, Cheringoma, Sofala on 12 August. There were eight people in the car, six Mozambicans and two Bangaldeshi traders. One Mozambicans and one Bangladeshi escaped and told their story to STV. Their car was stopped by people in police uniforms. They were told to get out of the car and line up, and the “police” started to shoot them; two people escaped, the six bodies were put in the car which was set on fire. Some media (STV, @Verdade) has accepted the witness statements at face value, that the executions were done by the police. But the police claim it was Renamo guerrillas in police uniforms.

Attack map We have produced a map that shows the areas where there have been attacks reported in the past four months, and the three routes with armed convoys. The file is too large to send on our list/serve, but you can download a copy of this newsletter with the map from http://bit.ly/MozWarMap1

Source:Mozambique News Reports & Clippings