Thursday, 10 July 2014

More alleged Renamo attacks and civilian deaths in Mozambique

More alleged Renamo attacks and civilian deaths

There have been more alleged Renamo attacks in Sofala Province near Muxungue, with one taking place on 25 June, Mozambique’s Independence Day. Media reports suggest that during the week of 23-28 June, at least 12 people were killed, including four civilians, and many others were injured.

The army-protected convoys have now been reduced, adversely disrupting trade between the centre and south of the country. Lorry drivers travelling from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi to the regional port of Beira have also been affected.

There have also been reports of minor attacks and exchanges of gunfire in other regions of the country. In Tete Province, for example, the local media reported that Renamo had attacked a police post in Chiuta and stole weapons. There were other cases of armed attacks in the province but it is believed that these could be the work of local criminals taking advantage of the current security instability.

There were reports of an exchange of gunfire between Renamo men and government soldiers in Zambezia Province when the army tried to dismantle a temporary Renamo base near Gurue District. Some of these attacks took place just before and during the Renamo meeting in Beira, and Renamo's leader Afonso Dhlakama has been asked by his supporters to explain why civilians were targeted. His response was that "the government is using civilian cars to transport weapons by road".

Dhlakama’s position has also been corroborated by a local priest, Jose Luiz Gonzalez, who has been working for the past six years on a local project run by US-based Catholic missionaries. He told reporters that Renamo does not attack civilians and that when there are civilian victims, it is because there are soldiers in the civilian convoys. The priest also stressed that in his area of Muxungue the local people do not agree with Renamo’s plan to divide the country and also do not support the violence.

For more news and expert analysis about Mozambique, please see Mozambique Politics & Security.

© 2014 Menas Associates

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