Maputo — Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo has threatened new attacks against the government's military forces, supposedly to ensure the security of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga, threatened that, if the government were to set up new military positions in the central province of Sofala, Renamo would move against them.
“The armed forces (FADM) will not be allowed to set up new positions”, he threatened. “New positions must be dismantled because they are a step backward from the understanding we have produced to allow effective peace in the country”.
Muchanga said Renamo would only accept military positions which existed prior to 7 May, the day when Renamo announced what it calls a “unilateral ceasefire”.
He claimed Renamo is aware that the government has held meetings at the FADM General Staff Headquarters, most recently on 17 May, in order to plan the assassination of Dhlakama.
“The participants at these meetings are carefully selected high ranking officers”, he claimed, including men whom he named as “Colonel Aldo” and “Lt-Col Cebolinha”, who supposedly head FADM reconnaissance teams in the Gorongosa area.
He did not explain how Renamo could possibly know what was discussed at such meetings if the participants were indeed “carefully selected”.
“Faced with these facts, the Renamo commanders in the Gorongosa region are worried and swear that they will not allow new positions to be established in that region”, Muchanga said, “because this shows that the government is banking on a military solution to the political dispute between us, despite the ongoing Renamo-government dialogue”.
He alleged that the FADM is moving men and equipment from other parts of Sofala province, such as Maringue, Muxungue and Dondo, to Gorongosa, where the establishment of new military positions is being prepared, including at Nhude, the place where Dhlakama registered as a voter on 8 May.
Muchanga said Dhlakama is urged that President Armando Guebuza, as commander-in-chief, should use his powers to stop these alleged troop movements, “because, if the plan of the General Staff is put into action, there would be military clashes on a larger scale, with disastrous and unpredictable consequences”.
Renamo has repeatedly claimed that plots are afoot to assassinate Dhlakama, yet the Renamo leader remains alive and unharmed.
On Monday, the head of the government delegation to the dialogue with Renamo, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, declared that the government has never had any intention to liquidate Dhlakama. He pointed out that if the government really wanted to kill Dhlakama, it could have done so easily when he registered as a voter.