Maputo — Unidentified gunmen attacked a tanker truck, carrying unprocessed vegetable oil, on Friday, in the area of Zimpinga, in Gondola district, in the central Mozambican province of Manica.
The truck, driven by a Zambian citizen, was carrying its cargo from the port of Beira to Zambia. At about 05.00 it came under fire. Several bullets hit the truck, and the driver took cover in the nearby bush.
Local villagers who came across the driver at first thought he was dead, but he escaped the ambush unharmed.
Speaking to AIM in the provincial capital, Chimoio, the Manica provincial police spokesperson, Maria Arnaca, confirmed the attack and said that about 20 shots had been fired at the truck.
At a press conference later in the day, he blamed "armed men of Renamo" for the ambush. He drew no distinction between the Renamo mainstream, led by its presidential candidate, Ossufo Momade, and the dissidents led by Mariano Nhongo who call themselves the "Renamo Military Junta".
On Saturday, on his arrival in Quelimane, capital of Zambezia province, Ossufo Momade categorically denied that his Renamo had anything to do with the attacks on the roads of Manica and the neighbouring province of Sofala.
He blamed the Military Junta - but also the Mozambican state for failing "to act against the crocodile while it is still small".
The Renamo leader noted that in his initial press conferences, in August, Nhongo had boasted of his intention to kill Momade, but nobody took him seriously
Contacted by the independent television station STV, Nhongo also denied responsibility for the attacks. "Let the police talk about what they don't know", he said. "Did they see me? Do they even know where I am?"
He blamed the attacks on Momade's men. He claimed that they were living in bases which had no food and no money.