6 September 2013

Mozambique: Renamo Claims Harassment and Murder, Frelimo Denies

Photo: Aly Ramji / Mediapix
President Armando Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique

Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Thursday accused the government and the ruling Frelimo Party of harassing and even murdering its demobilised fighters - but Frelimo has dismissed the claims as fictitious.

At a Maputo press conference, the Renamo national spokesperson, Fernando Mazanga, claimed “the political situation in the country is deteriorating, with a return to terrorist practices carried out by the state on the instructions of the Frelimo Party and its government”.

In particular, he claimed that a demobilised man, who had held the rank of major in the Renamo army, Oliveira Magazinhica, had been “executed” by the police in order to intimidate other former Renamo guerrillas.

Magazinhica had supposedly been killed at 17.30 on 27 August, after being held captive for two days. He had been working at Renamo's headquarters at its bush camp in Satunjira, in the central province of Sofala, but had been picked up by the police when he went to visit his family in Nhamatanda district.

The body, Mazanga claimed, had been buried in the bush and later discovered by local people. He said an eye-witness had confirmed police responsibility for the death.

Mazanga also alleged that a further 16 demobilised soldiers in Sofala and Manica provinces had gone into hiding to escape from “Frelimo death squads”.

Asked by AIM on Friday about these allegations, the Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Damiao Jose, dismissed them as entirely false. He had never heard of anyone called Oliveira Magazinhica, and if this man really had died, it was certainly not the responsibility either of Frelimo or of the defence and security forces.

“Frelimo regrets and condemns this attitude of Renamo of calling press conferences to spread disinformation that bears no relation to the truth”, said Jose.

Units of the defence and security forces had been stationed near the Renamo base at Satunjira “precisely because Renamo is intimidating and harassing the population”, he said.

It was the threat to peace and tranquility posed by Renamo's armed men that explained the police presence, he declared. It was Renamo, and not Frelimo or the police, who were sowing terror in the region.

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