11 June 2019

Mozambique: Renamo Leader Accused of Ordering Summary Executions

Photo: William Mapote/VOA
Renamo President Ossufo Momade (file photo).

Maputo — An open letter addressed to the leadership of Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, and now circulating on the internet, claims that senior Renamo officers are being executed at the party's military base in the central district of Gorongosa, on the orders of the party's leader, Ossufo Momade.

However, the letter, dated 8 June, is unsigned, and Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas has dismissed as "false" the allegation of summary executions.

Manteigas, interviewed by the independent newssheet "Mediafax", claimed that Renamo has nothing to do with executions and firing squads.

"This is counter-information from our adversaries, exactly to divert our attention", said Manteigas. He thought it no coincidence that such claims should appear precisely when Renamo is preparing for the October general elections.

The letter names, as one of those murdered, Col Josefa Isaias de Sousa. So "Mediafax" suggested that Renamo could clarify the matter by producing Col Sousa alive, and allowing him to speak to the press.

Manteigas refused. He said "that man is a soldier, and I don't have his contact here".

The letter alleges that, at the Gorongosa base, Renamo is experiencing "moments of terror, total panic, intimidation, and execution by firing squad of high ranking officers who used to work directly with the late General Afonso Dhlakama" (Momade's predecessor as Renamo leader, who died of diabetes in Ma1y 2018).

Sousa, the letter continues, was executed on 3 June "on the direct orders of Ossufo Momade, a day after he had met in Chimoio with the President of the Republic (Filipe Nyusi)".

Sousa, the anonymous writer added, was the commander of Renamo Military Intelligence, and a member of the Renamo National Political Commission. He had been the spokesperson for the Renamo General Staff, at the Congress in January this year, which elected Momade as the new leader.

The letter claimed that the whereabouts of most senior officers in the General Staff are now unknown, since they are "trying to escape from the death squad formed by Ossufo Momade", who had decided to eliminate "all those who were close to Afonso Dhlakama".

The writer queried the sanity of Momade, and called for an extraordinary congress of Renamo "to save the party",

Momade, the letter added, "has proved his total incapacity and incompetence to lead the destinies of Renamo, and removing him is an urgent priority for all of us".

"Mediafax" cited an unnamed source in the Renamo leadership, who indicated that much of the content of the letter may be true, because relations between the men who were working directly with Dhlakama, and the security men currently guarding Momade "are not very healthy".

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