Mozambique: Seven Injured in Ambush Against Buses Near Inchope

(File photo).

Maputo — Unidentified armed men, believed to be members of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", injured seven people, three of them seriously, in two ambushes on Thursday morning in the region of Inchope, on the border between Sofala and Manica provinces.

According to a report on the independent television station STV, the victims were in two buses that set off earlier in the morning from the central city of Beira, and were travelling to Quelimane, capital of Zambezia province.

40 kilometres from the town of Gorongosa, in Sofala, the buses came under fire. The spokesperson for the Sofala Provincial Police Command, Dercio Chacate, confirmed the attack and blamed it on "armed bandits of the Renamo Military Junta, led by Mariano Nhongo".

The first attack occurred at about 07.45 and the second at 10.00. The three people who suffered serious injuries were taken to the Manica Provincial Hospital in Chimoio for medical treatment.

The two buses suffered minor damage, such as broken windows, and were able to continue their journey to Quelimane.

The police guaranteed that, despite the attacks, traffic along the road from Beira to Zimbabwe is continuing normally.

Speaking in Chimoio on Thursday, the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Rogerio Zandamela, warned that the raids by the Renamo Military Junta, plus the attacks by islamist terrorists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, are damaging the country's economy, and, if they continue, they will scare off investors.

"We haven't yet quantified the weight of the attacks on the Mozambican economy", said Zandamela. For now, the Bank of Mozambique is treating them as "risk factors" in its strategy of reforms to secure economic stability and growth.

"Obviously these are worrying factors", he added. "They bring uncertainty, and where there is uncertainty, certain types of investment become difficult. They become more expensive".

"Under normal conditions we would have more and better investment", Zandamela continued. "But we are working with the defence and security forces to ensure that all the projects that are programmed happen within the envisaged deadlines".

He was confident that, in addition to the commitment of the defence forces, working in the theatres of military operations to halt the attacks, a similar exercise is being made by the country's political leadership at the highest level.

"There are political efforts, although they are not visible, to ensure that things happen normally", Zandamela claimed.

He also mentioned the central bank's plan to introduce a "Single Banking Identification Number", which is part of the efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

He claimed that currently there are people who use multiple identities when they access banking services, making control of bank operations difficult.

"One and the same person goes to a bank, presents one identity, asks for a loan, receives the services requested, then goes to another bank with another identity", he said.

It was important to tighten up banking controls, Zandamela argued. "The world has a very limited tolerance for countries which take a relaxed attitude to money laundering and to financing terrorism", he said.

There was a financial aspect to the military activities waged by the islamist terrorists and by the Renamo Military Junta. "If we don't know who the people are who are moving money through the financial system, it becomes difficult to assist the defence and security forces", he said.

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