Mozambique: Police Abort Attempt to Recruit Youths in Zambezia

Maputo — Maganja da Costa (Mozambique), 27 Jan (AIM) - The Mozambican police in Maganja da Costa district, in the central province of Zambezia, say they have aborted an attempt to recruit six youths supposedly to work in the neighbouring province of Sofala.

The Maganja da Costa district police commander, Felisberto Chicuate, told AIM on Monday "They left Mocubela, but thanks to the collaboration between the police and the community, we were informed about the strange movements of the group".

"We initiated measures which led to the neutralization of the six individuals in Cariua locality, 12 kilometres from the Licungo river, accompanied by a man believed to be the head of the group", he added.

The head of the group (whose name was not revealed) said the six would all go to the Sofala district of Muanza, where they would work as fishermen.

The six did not all corroborate this story. Indeed, some said they were going, not to Sofala, but to the Zambezia provincial capital, Quelimane, where they would work for a building company.

The fishing story is suspect, because this is currently the closed season for fisheries, so no legal fishing can be done.

The unspoken suspicion is that the real purpose of the recruitment is to pressgang youths into the ranks of the armed gangs who have been attacking vehicles on the main roads of Sofala and the neighbouring province of Manica, and who are believed to obey Mariano Nhongo, the head of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta".

The police sent the six youths back to their families, but are continuing to investigate the activities of the man who recruited them.

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