Mozambique: Army and Renamo Clash Outside Nampula

Photo:   Renamo               

Renamo soldiers at training in the bush (file photo).    

Maputo — The Mozambican armed forces (FADM) on Tuesday clashed with gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo at Napome, in the Rapale administrative post, about 50 kilometres from the northern city of Nampula.

According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the FADM were flushing out a Renamo group from a hideout they had began to establish in Rapale a week ago.

This Renamo group consists of members of Renamo’s “Presidential Guard”, which used to protect the house owned by Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in the Nampula street, Rua das Flores.

But since Dhlakama left Nampula over a year ago, and went to live at a new bush headquarters at Satunjira, in the central province of Sofala, these men have had nothing to do. On 21 October, the FADM occupied the Satunjira base, and two days later the Renamo men in Nampula left Rua das Flores.

It is not known whether this Renamo group had been in contact with Dhlakama, whose current whereabouts are unknown.

The Tuesday shooting in Rapale began at about 08.00, and caused panic among local residents, many of whom decided to flee into Nampula city. “O Pais” reports that some communities in mountainous parts of Rapale were virtually abandoned. In the city, reporters watched as ten pick-up trucks, all packed full of frightened people, arrived from Rapale.

No information is currently available of losses on either side. Some people in Napome told “O Pais” they had seen armed groups fleeing towards the neighbouring district of Murrupula.

The FADM were tight-lipped about the clash, while the spokesperson for the Nampula police, Miguel Bartolomeu, merely said that the defence and security forces are seeking information that will enable them to locate the Renamo groups.

Bartolomeu denied a report that the police had arrested the Renamo Nampula City delegate. He claimed he had merely been “notified to collaborate with the police”.

In Sofala, Renamo gangs are continuing to attack vehicles travelling on the stretch of the main north-south road, between the Save river and the small town of Muxungue, despite the fact that the vehicles now travel in convoys with a military escort. At about 08.00 on Tuesday morning Renamo opened fire on a passenger vehicle in the convoy, wounding ten people, some of them seriously.

Those with serious injuries are undergoing medical treatment in the Muxungue Rural Hospital, while those with minor injuries continued their journey to the south of the country and to hospitals in Inhambane province.

Meanwhile, in Maputo members of the Renamo parliamentary groups are attending sessions of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, taking part in debates and votes, as if nothing were happening in the rest of the country. allAfrica