Police insist Renamo committed murders on road to Caia

Maputo (AIM) – The Mozambican police have insisted that the rebel movement Renamo was responsible for last Friday’s ambush in the central province of Sofala, in which six people were murdered and their bodies burnt.

Source: Police insist Renamo committed murders on road to Caia – The Zimbabwean 18.08.2016

The murders occurred in Nango locality, in the district of Cheringoma, about 250 kilometres from Beira. The vehicle carrying eight people (six Mozambicans and two Bangladeshis) was heading for Caia on the south bank of the Zambezi.

The attack was immediately attributed to Renamo, which has a lengthy track record of ambushing vehicles in Sofala. However, two of the occupants survived the ambush, and they told the independent television station STV that the vehicle was attacked, not by the rebels, but by the Mozambican police and military.

Faced with this accusation, the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Inacio Dina, told reporters in Maputo on Tuesday, at his weekly press briefing, that Renamo gunmen are now disguising themselves as members of the defence and security forces.

“People should be attentive because these men are going to pass themselves off as the defence forces in order to carry out their crimes”, said Dina. “They will disguise themselves in order to confuse Mozambicans when they carry out these barbaric acts. People must remain vigilant because at any time the Renamo bandits are going to use this trick”.

Dina insisted there was no question of real police or soldiers carrying out such ambushes. “There is no doubt that the attacks in that area are carried out by Renamo gunmen”, he said. “These actions are the work of the armed bandits of Renamo”.

As for the categorical claims made by the survivors, Dina said “We should be aware that in moments of panic, an individual may draw various conclusions”, and might even hallucinate. However, “the point is that the bandits are using various tactics to confuse people”.

Dina seemed to have forgotten that this year there was one well-attested case of soldiers ambushing a vehicle and trying to blame Renamo for the attack. In February the police arrested two soldiers, Arquimedes Bernardino and Borges Francisco dos Anjos, accused of attacking a civilian vehicle, and injuring three of its occupants.

The attack, cited by the Beira daily “Diario de Mocambique”, took place in the Nkondezi region, on the boundary between Tsangano and Moatize districts, and near the Malawian border. The police believe the two soldiers turned bandit intended to blame Renamo for the attack.

The vehicle targeted was a truck carrying assorted merchandise which the soldiers intended to loot. But things went wrong for them when the driver refused to obey their order to stop and drove his truck straight through the ambush. Although wounded in the arm, he continued to drive assisted by his son. The soldiers used their AK-47 rifles to rake the truck with gunfire, injuring two passengers in addition to the driver.

According to the paper, this was the second attack in the Nkondezi region attributed to members of the armed forces. The earlier attack resulted in injuries to five people. The authors were not caught, but eye-witnesses insisted that the attackers were wearing uniforms of the Mozambican armed forces (FADM). The police were able to track down the culprits for the February attack, who both confessed.