12 February 2013

Mozambique: Frelimo Official Tells How He Was Tortured

Maputo — The first secretary of the ruling Frelimo Party in the central Mozambican district of Maringue, Andre Madumana, has accused members of the country’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, of abducting him and of beating him so severely that he has had to be hospitalized.

Speaking to reporters from his hospital bed in Beira Central Hospital on Friday, Madumana said “They beat me up and kept beating me until I passed out. Then they took me to the house of one of their members where they were waiting fro transport to take me to their leader, Afonso Dhlakama, in Gorongosa”.

The delay in the arrival of the Renamo vehicle, and police action to release Madumana, prevented Renamo from implementing this plan.

Madumana said his problems began with a rally in the village of Gravata, where villagers complained that the presence of armed Renamo members “is terrorizing the population”.

Madumana advised his audience to ignore the Renamo armed men because “they wouldn’t do anything since they don’t have the capacity to do anything”.

Apparently, this disparaging remark reached the ears of members of Renamo’s illegal “Presidential Guard”, who decided to show Madumana that they could indeed do something.

After the rally, when Madumana and his delegation were returning to Maringue town, they found the road blocked by a barricade of stones and tree trunks. The Renamo men then grabbed Madumana and set about beating him with sticks and the butts of their guns. “I passed out, and when I awoke I was tied to a tree”, he recalled.

Renamo nurtures a particular hatred for Madumana because he is a defector. He was once a Renamo guerrilla, and occupied a senior Renamo position in Maringue. But five years ago he clashed with the Renamo leadership, particularly with Dhlakama, and defected to Frelimo.

In the subsequent general elections, in 2009, Frelimo, for the first time ever, won a majority of votes in Maringue district, previously regarded as a Renamo stronghold. According to a report in the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, Renamo holds Madumana responsible for its defeat in Maringue, and regards him as a traitor.

In hospital, one of Frelimo’s most senior leaders, Political Commission member and former defence minister Alberto Chipande, visited Madumana.

“I’m amazed when I see members of political parties taking revenge by torturing other people”, Chipande told reporters. “In this country, each person is free to choose the party he wants to join”.

Despite his serious injuries, the Beira doctors consider that Madumana is not in any danger of his life. In the next few days he is expected to be discharged, but will continue out-patient treatment.

Renamo denies any responsibility for the attack on Madumana which it claims was carried out by “members of the public”.

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