Maputo — Gunmen of Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo on Wednesday morning killed one person and injured five others seriously in an ambush against a convoy of vehicles travelling under military escort along the country's main north-south highway in the central province of Sofala.
Eye-witnesses who were in the convoy, and who were travelling from the northern city of Nampula to Maputo, told AIM that the attack took place at about 08.00, shortly after the convoy had set off from the small town of Muxungue.
Since June last year, military escorts have been accompanying vehicles travelling along the most dangerous stretch of the road, the 100 kilometres between Muxungue and the Save river, the conventional boundary between central and southern Mozambique.
But the escorts are no guarantee that the convoys will not come under attack. According to AIM's sources, the ambush lasted for between 10 and 15 minutes. In addition to the one fatality and the five injured, heavy damage was done to three buses in the convoy.
The troops in the escort returned fire, but the Renamo ambushers melted into the bush. Once the shooting was over, the convoy continued its journey southward.
“This is terrible”, said AIM's source. “The consequences are serious, both for the families who have lost loved ones and for the companies who have lost their vehicles, acquired at the cost of so much sacrifice”.
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Inhambane, the armed forces (FADM) caught up and exchanged fire with the 12 armed Renamo members who, in the small hours of Tuesday morning attacked the police station, health post and market stalls in Mavume locality.
On Wednesday the Mavume locality chairperson, Orlando Mazive, told the independent television station STV that troops chased the gunmen to a former Renamo base, used during the war of destabilisation that they were trying to reoccupy.
As far as Mazive knew, nobody was killed or injured during the exchange of fire, but as they fled the Renamo group abandoned many of the goods they had stolen during their incursion into Mavume. Thus the troops managed to recover, and take back to Mavume, the police uniforms they had stolen at the police station, as well as some of the food they had taken from the market stalls.