Maputo — Unidentified assailants on Friday burnt down the offices of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in the city of Xai-Xai, capital of the southern province of Gaza.
According to Alberto Nhamuche, the MDM Gaza provincial delegate, cited in Monday's issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the attack took place before dawn, when nobody was in the offices.
“They broke the window and then climbed into our offices”, he said. “Then they piled up all the furniture in the meeting room, and set it on fire. The flames spread to other rooms and burnt everything”.
The MDM reported the arson to the Xai-Xai second police precinct, the nearest to the ruined office. The police promised to investigate - but Nhamuche said they did not even go the office to carry out the investigative procedures that should be routine for any such crime.
The MDM believes that the crime was politically motivated. “This isn't the first time this has happened in our provincial offices”, said Nhamuche. “It is possible this was done to shake up our members in Gaza psychologically, and serve as an example to repress the activity of our party in other provinces. It may be an attempt at political intimidation”.
The MDM provincial delegation has had to improvise alternative office space. Currently it is working in the open air, under a mango tree, in the yard beside the burnt-out office.