Maputo — Unidentified gunmen on Thursday opened fire on the car used by Augusto Pelembe, the candidate for Maputo provincial governor of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
Two bullets hit the windscreen of the car, as could be clearly seen in photographs of the damaged vehicle circulating on social media. Neither Pelembe, nor his companion in the car, MDM Political Commission member Elias Langa, were injured.
The attack took place on the main north-south highway at Maluane, in Manhica district, about 80 kilometres north of the capital. There were no police accompanying the MDM motorcade.
Pelembe told reporters he suspects the gunmen followed him from Maputo and joined the MDM motorcade. At around 15.00, two young people who were in a white Rutz car stopped the motorcade, pretending to be MDM supporters wanting campaign shirts. With the caravan stopped, two shots were fired at Pelembe's vehicle. The gunmen fled and an evidently shaken Pelembe abandoned his campaign in Maluana.
The MDM leader and presidential candidate, Daviz Simango, on Thursday described the Mozambican state as "a gangster", according to a report on the independent television channel STV.
He was speaking in Gorongosa district in the central province of Sofala, and said the attack on Pelembe was evidence that "the State has been captured by gangsters".
"They hit the car windows, but they wanted to kill him there", said Simango, "because they see that the MDM is beating them in Maputo province. This happens because our state has been captured. Our state is now a gangster".
Simango was in Gorongosa to give moral support to MDM members who claim they are being harassed by the defence and security forces.
At this meeting, one young MDM supporter told Simango "Frelimo members came to my house in the Chitunga area and asked why I continue to fly the MDM flag on my stall. They promised they would throw me into an armoured car. They said they wanted to remove the MDM flag and hoist that of Frelimo".
Faced with such abuses, Simango urged he voters "to give a red card to the ruling part", because the people can no longer continue to live among death and suffering.