8 May 2018

Mozambique: Matola Residents Protest Against Military Training

Maputo — More than a hundred residents of the Sidwava neighbourhood, in the southern Mozambican city of Matola, on Monday marched to the office of President Filipe Nyusi, to protest at the military training exercises held at a barracks near their homes, according to a report on the independent television station STV.

Last Thursday a stray bullet from one of these training exercises entered a Sidwava house and killed a six year old child.

The spokesperson for the Maputo provincial police command, Fernando Manhica, told reporters that the child's name was Gervasio Manguaze. He confirmed that, when the child was shot, at about 11.00, a shooting exercise was indeed taking place at the barracks.

Members of the police, the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC), and of the Motorised Infantry Regiment of the armed forces, visited the house and confirmed that the child had been shot in the abdomen.

Monday's demonstrators gathered at the Teachers' Garden, in central Maputo, and marched through the city streets to Nyusi's office, singing religious songs.

Residents said this was the second time they had marched. They had also sent letters to the President calling for an end to the military exercises at the barracks, but had not yet received a reply.

When they reached Nyusi's office, a delegation was sent inside to explain their problems. Two hours later, they received their answer - the President's office was remitting the dispute to the governor of Maputo province, Raimundo Diomba.

Sidwava residents also complain that the military is usurping their land. The barracks was built in 1981 - but residents claim that it is on land used for farming since 1974.

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