Mozambique: Vehicles Ambushed, Renamo Dissidents Suspected

President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade (top left) Renamo Military Junta leader Mariano Nhongo (top right), Cabo Delgado (bottom left) and Renamo military Junta militia (bottom right).

Maputo — Unidentified gunman opened fire on four vehicles near the Pungue river, on the border between Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala on Wednesday, according to a report in the latest issue of the "Mozambique Political Process Bulletin", published by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP).

Nobody was killed, but five of the vehicles' occupants suffered serious injuries and are being treated in Sofala hospitals. The vehicles continued their journey northwards.

This is the third ambush in the Gorongosa area since mid-August. The mayor of Gorongosa, Sabeti Morais, confirmed the attacks to the Bulletin.

The main suspects for the attacks are the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", a dissident group within the former rebel movement Renamo, which denounces Renamo leader Ossufo Momade as "a traitor", and has threatened to disrupt the campaign ahead of the general elections scheduled for 15 October.

The Junta has appointed its own leader, Mariano Nhongo, as leader of Renamo. It rejects the peace agreement signed between President Filipe Nyusi and Momade on 6 August, and is demanding fresh negotiations with the government.

Following the Wednesday ambush, Nhongo, cited by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, claimed that government forces had attacked a base of the Junta, in Chipindaumwe, in the neighbouring province of Manica, on Friday. This base is not far from the site of the ambush.

"We have men who are being attacked right now", he said, without giving any further details. The Junta also denied responsibility for the ambush. In an interview in August, Nhongo had claimed that some of the former Renamo guerrillas in the Sofala bush are "out of control".

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