Mozambique: Police Training of Ex-Renamo Guerrillas Ends

Maputo — The General Commander of the Mozambican police force, Bernadino Rafael, on Tuesday reminded guerrillas from the militia of the opposition party Renamo who have been recruited into the police that they now owe obedience to the Commander-in-Chief of the defence and security forces, President Filipe Nyusi.

Rafael, cited by the Maputo daily "Noticias", was speaking at the close of the first course held specifically for the first ten Renamo militiamen to enter the police. He told them that loyalty to the Commander-in-Chief is obligatory for all members of the defence and security forces, and there can be no exceptions of any kind.

"So, in carrying out your mission, you are called upon to obey all the legal instruments and the hierarchy of command that manages the defence and security forces", he said. "Your training has endowed you with enough tools to guarantee public order and security in our country, by preventing crime and traffic accidents and their consequences".

"Above all", Rafael added, "you are trained to ensure the free circulation of Mozambicans and their goods. That is the essence of the police force, as envisaged in the Constitution".

After 110 days of training, the ten ex-Renamo members passed the course, and have now entered the ranks of the police. The course dealt with matters such as notions of law and professional ethics, command and leadership, personal defence and physical preparation, among other aspects necessary for police work.

The ten former guerrillas were recruited to the police in early August, under the agreement on ending military hostilities signed by Nyusi and by Renamo leader Ossufo Momade.

This was supposed to be one of the initial steps in the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, and their integration into the police or armed forces (FADM), or back into civilian life.

But this process appears to have stalled, despite official optimism. Since the August intake, there have been no reports of any further Renamo militiamen joining either the police or the FADM.

One of the provisions of the agreement between Nyusi and Momade was that all Renamo military bases should be dismantle by 21 August. But there have been no reports of any bases being dismantled.

A serious problem is the division within Renamo, with a dissident group, calling itself the "Renamo Military Junta", breaking away, and claiming that its leader, Mariano Nhongo, is the true President of Renamo. The Junta is believed to be responsible for the recent spate of ambushes on the main roads in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.

It is not clear how many members of the Renamo militia have joined Nhongo, and how many remain loyal to Momade.

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