Maputo — Mariano Nhongo, leader of the "Renamo Military Junta", has threatened that he will order attacks on vehicles on 15 January, the day that Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi will be sworn in to start his second five year term of office.
Interviewed by telephone by the German agency DW Africa, Nhongo said that, if Nyusi does indeed take office on that date, his men will attack and burn vehicles travelling on the roads of central Mozambique.
Nhongo claims he is the true leader of the main opposition party, Renamo, and has denounced Renamo President Ossufo Momade, elected at a Renamo congress in January, as "a traitor". He does not recognise the peace agreement signed by Nyusi and Momade on 6 August, and has demanded that the elections held on 15 October be rerun, with his name on the presidential ballot paper.
Despite his open threats to ambush vehicles on 15 January, Nhongo denied responsibility for the attacks that have already taken place on the main roads in Manica and Sofala provinces. He told DW Africa that it is impossible to tell the Junta's men apart from the guerrillas loyal to Momade since they both wear the same green uniforms.
"You can't interview me about attacks. I don't know anything about attacks", he told the DW reporter. "You asked who is carrying out the attacks. Don't you know that there are armed men out in the bush?"
He said that the military junta "has never bought guns", but in the next breath went on to threaten attacks on the day of Nyusi's inauguration.
Nhongo told DW that he too would like to know who was behind the attacks on the Manica and Sofala roads.
"Who are these people who kidnap and murder?", he asked. "Last week, six people were taken from Gorongosa and were killed in Dombe. Three people were taken from Nhamatanda and were killed in Mutindir. Why is this happening?"
Nhongo said it was the entire responsibility of the government to discover the identity of the attackers.
Despite these protests of innocence, it is generally believed that the ambushes are the work of the Military Junta. Momade's Renamo faction blames Nhongo's men and says it is up to the government to stop them.