Renamo gunmen ambush convoy, injure four

Maputo (AIM) – Gunmen of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo wounded four people, two of them seriously, in an ambush on Sunday against a convoy travelling under armed escort from Vanduzi to the Luenha river in the central province of Manica.

Source: Renamo gunmen ambush convoy, injure four – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016

This is the road from the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio, to the western province of Tete, and then on to Malawi and Zambia.

Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the Manica provincial police spokesperson, Elsidia Filipe, said the attack against the first convoy of the day heading towards Tete took place in the Guta region.

She said the defence and security forces returned fire “but were unable to capture any of those involved in the attack and their whereabouts are currently unknown”.

The two seriously injured people were treated in the Manica provincial hospital in Chimoio, but one of them was later transferred to Beira Central Hospital for more specialist care.

Renamo is continuing to launch ambushes, despite the talks under way in Maputo in the Joint Commission set up between the government and Renamo. On Monday, the spokesperson for the team of foreign mediators, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, claimed there were some advances in discussions over a cessation of hostilities, but gave no details.

According to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the mediators hope to establish a “demilitarized corridor” which would allow the mediating team direct access to Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in his bush hideout in Gorongosa district.

They want to follow this up with a truce, while the Maputo talks continue, and eventually a full ceasefire.

Renamo, however, has signed ceasefires before (in 1992 and 2014), and has always violated them.

As the price for ordering his gunmen to stop shooting, Dhlakama wants the government to withdraw its forces from the Gorongosa mountain range. The government has rejected this condition, since it would just allow Renamo to occupy more territory.

According to “Mediafax”, the mediators are now looking for “alternative guarantees” they can offer Dhlakama, persuading him that his personal security will not be threatened, and that the government forces will not take advantage of any “demilitarized corridor” to bombard his base.