Maputo — Five people were injured in two ambushes on Thursday against buses in the Mutindiri area of Chibabava district, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, according to a report in the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".
In the first attack, a bus travelling from Maputo to Nampula along the country's main north-south highway (EN1) was struck by several bullets at about 08.00, shortly after it had driven past Mutindiri village. Three people, including the bus driver, were slightly injured.
Half an hour later a second bus, also travelling northwards, came under fire, and two other people suffered bullet wounds.
The driver of the first bus, Enoque Matavel, cited by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, said "I was driving round a curve, and I realised I was under attack when the passengers became agitated, and my hand began to bleed".
A bullet had hit his thumb, and then lodged in the bus control panel. "I didn't stop, because I wanted to save the 37 passengers", said Matavel.
The five people injured in the ambushes were treated at the Inchope health centre, in the neighbouring province of Manica. They then returned to the buses and continued their journey northwards.
The buses had stopped at the small town of Muxungue, in Sofala, on Wednesday night. The first bus left Muxungue at 07.00 on Thursday. For the first stretch, the vehicles were in a military convoy. The attack occurred shortly after the bus had left the protected stretch of highway.
The ambushes in Sofala and Manica provinces are believed to be the work of the "Renamo Military Junta", a breakaway from the main opposition party. The Junta's leader, Mariano Nhongo, calls Renamo president Ossufo Momade "a traitor", and claims that he is now the true leader of Renamo.