Talks in Maputo,attacks in Manica and Sofala

Maputo (AIM) – The joint commission set up between the Mozambican government and the rebel movement Renamo to plan a face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, met in Maputo for the fourth time on Wednesday, while in the centre of the country Renamo stepped up its military activities.

Source: Talks in Maputo,attacks in Manica and Sofala – The Zimbabwean 10/06/2016

Renamo gunmen carried out their worst ambush yet on the main road from the port of Beira to the western city of Tete. In Barue district, Manica province, which has become a favourite spot for Renamo ambushes, the Renamo militia attacked five trucks laden with various goods.

Renamo emptied the trucks of the goods they were carrying, and then set the five vehicles on fire. One person died and an unspecified number of others were injured in the attack.

At about 20.00 Renamo opened fire on a coal train belonging to the Brazilian mining company Vale, which was travelling along the Sena rail line from the Vale mine in Moatize, in Tete, to Beira. This was the second attack on a train in the space of three days. Both attacks took place in the area of Inhamitanga, in Sofala province.

The gunmen opened fire on the cabin of the locomotive shattering the windscreen. The driver was injured as fragments of glass pierced his leg. But he continued driving the train until the town of Inhaminga where he was treated for his injuries in the local hospital.

Meanwhile in Maputo, the joint commission claims to have reached consensus on four points for the agenda of the proposed Nyusi/Dhlakama meeting, but remains deadlocked on what Renamo calls the “terms of reference”.

Both sides agree that the agenda should include Renamo’s demand to govern the six northern and central provinces where it claims that it won the 2014 general elections; a cessation of all armed attacks; the situation of the defence and security forces; and the disarming and reintegration of the Renamo militia.

The government had hoped that agreement on the agenda points would lead speedily to the meeting between Nyusi and Dhlakama. According to former security minister Jacinto Veloso, who is heading the government team, the Nyusi-Dhlakama meeting would give clear instructions to working groups on how to pursue “peace and reconciliation”.

But Renamo wants to set up the working groups first, before the meeting of the top leaders, which looks like a recipe for prolonging discussions, and postponing the Nyusi/Dhlakama meeting indefinitely.

Renamo also expressed concerns about Dhlakama’s security and revived its call for international mediation. The mediators favoured by Renamo are the Catholic Church, the European Union and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Veloso said Renamo ought to specify precisely what measures of security it wants for its leader. As for international mediators, previously rejected by the government,Veloso said the government was not in principle opposed, but Renamo should define exactly what role they should play.
He added that Renamo ought to have ended all armed activities as soon as the joint commission began its work.

The two sides said they would hold consultations in an attempt to break the impasse over the terms of reference. Thus there is still no date, not even an approximate one, for a meeting between the two leaders.