Maputo — Senior members of the parliamentary group of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, have been called into the Attorney-General's Office "to provide clarifications", according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".
The notifications, dated last Friday, refer to the preparatory investigations into "case number 1621/2019". This is the investigation into the ambushes on the main roads in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, and arises from statements made in November by six members of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", who were detained in Zambezia province.
They alleged that members of the Renamo parliamentary group were financing the Military Junta and its attacks in the central region.
So the PGR wants to interview the head of the Renamo parliamentary group, Ivone Soares, the Renamo national spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, the former Renamo general secretary, Manuel Bissopo, and Renamo's failed candidate for governor of Maputo province, Antonio Muchanga.
Others mentioned by the six detained in Zambezia included Elias Dhlakama, younger brother of the former Renamo leader, the late Afonso Dhlakama, and the former Renamo political delegate in Beira, Sandura Ambrosio.
The latter accusation seems particularly absurd, since Ambrosio defected from Renamo in mid-2019, and switched his allegiance to the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
"Carta de Mocambique" spoke to Manteigas and Muchanga, who confirmed they had received the notifications, but had not been given any explanation as to why the PGR wished to interview them.
The Military Junta broke away from the Renamo mainstream in mid-2019, denouncing Renamo leader Ossufo Momae as "a traitor", and even threatening to kill him. The Junta declared that its own leader Mariano Nhongo is the real President of Renamo, and does not recognise the peace agreement that Momade signed with President Filipe Nyusi on 6 August.
There is no real doubt that the Junta is responsible for the ambushes in Manica and Sofala, although the police have refused to draw a distinction between Momade's Renamo and the followers of Nhongo.
As the party's spokesperson, Manteigas has repeatedly insisted that Renamo is not carrying out armed attacks, and that the operations of the Military Junta are exclusively its responsibility.