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Mozambique detains 6 opposition members over violent attacks

Mozambique detains 6 opposition members over violent attacks
  • The violence experienced in Nhamatanda district of Sofala province has seen at least 21 people killed since August 2019, police attributing it to members of Renamo’s armed wing.
  • Meanwhile, Mr André Matsangaíssa Júnior, Renamo’s armed wing Membe, threatened to carry out more attacks in the central regions unless kidnapped members of his family are freed.
  • Earlier, Renamo’s leader, Mr Mariano Nhongo, threatened attacks next week if opposition legislators agree to take oath of office with President Filipe Nyusi.

Mozambique authorities are detaining six opposition members for allegedly having a hand in violent attacks in central regions of the country, local police (PRM) confirmed on Wednesday.

The violence experienced in Nhamatanda district of Sofala province has seen at least 21 people killed since August 2019, police attributing it to members of the opposition Renamo’s armed wing.

The group, which includes a member of Renamo’s municipal assembly and the head of Marromeu Youth wing, was arrested on its way to Nhamatanda district, the alleged scene of attacks, VOA reported, quoting PRM.

“One of the group’s members was hospitalised after being shot [during] the operation while the other five [are being held at] Sofala’s Police Station”.

The group denies any link to the attacks.

THREATS

Meanwhile, Mr André Matsangaíssa Júnior, Renamo’s armed wing Membe, threatened to carry out more attacks in the central regions unless kidnapped members of his family are freed.

In an interview with DW Radio Monday, Mr Júnior said he last had contact with the abducted family members on December 27, 2019, and that he has heard little from them since then.

He alleged that the kidnappers told him they belonged to Mozambique's security and defence forces and demanded a $2 million ransom and for him to surrender to authorities.

“I don’t have this money to pay and I will not surrender any time soon”, he told the media in a phone interview.

He also threatened attacks when classes resume in February unless his family members are freed.

“In Sofala and Manica provinces, I don’t want to see classrooms from Grade 1 to 7. I don’t even want to see teachers’ faces in those schools," he said.

SWEARING-IN

Earlier, Renamo’s leader, Mr Mariano Nhongo, threatened attacks next week if opposition legislators agree to take oath of office with President Filipe Nyusi, following the October 15, 2019 election, which the country’s opposition parties claim had irregularities.

President Nyusi and his Cabinet will take oath to office on January 15 while legislators will do so on January 13, for a five-year term.

More than 3,000 people, among them nationals and guests from abroad, have been invited to the inauguration ceremony.

According to State-owned Rádio Moçambique, 12 heads of State have confirmed attendance.

Ruling Frelimo leader in Sofala province, Mr Jaime Neto, said they were concerned and condemned Renamo’s bellicose acts and urged the opposition formation to find a way to end the attacks for peace to prevail.