Maputo — Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party has accused the militia of the former rebel movement Renamo of intimidating and kidnapping local Frelimo leaders in six districts in the central province of Sofala.
According to a report on Radio Mozambique, the Frelimo provincial secretary for mobilization and propaganda, Fatima Batalhao, told a press conference in Beira on Friday that these attacks had occurred in Gorongosa, Maríngue, Cheringoma, Chemba, Muanza, Nhamatanda and Chibabava districts.
She strongly condemned the behaviour of the Renamo gunmen and urged local people to denounce to the authorities any individuals who try to destabilize communities.
Batalhao said that on 11 December Renamo kidnapped the first secretary of a Frelimo committee in Muanza and now, almost a month later, his whereabouts are still unknown. On 25 December Renamo kidnapped two couples at Tica, in Nhamatanda, but released them the following day.
The most recent case, Batalhao continued, occurred on 5 January when Renamo kidnapped the first secretary of a Frelimo committee in Bebedo locality, also in Nhamatanda. He was released the following day, but with marks of torture.
When the Radio contacted Renamo officials in Sofala, they were unwilling to talk about the matter.
The spokesperson for the Sofala provincial police command, Daniel Macuacua, confirmed that kidnappings of citizens have taken place in the districts mentioned by Batalhao, and promised to provide more detailed information in the near future.