Assassination bid on Simango?

2009-06-10 12:40

Maputo - The party of Mozambican presidential candidate Daviz Simango claimed on Tuesday that its leader was the target of an assassination attempt that left three people injured.

Two man grabbed a policeman's gun and shot at Simango's vehicle while he was travelling through a crowd of supporters in northern Mozambique, said Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) party spokesperson Geraldo Carvalho.

"This happened as thousands of Nacala residents gathered to celebrate the arrival of the president of the MDM," said Carvalho.

Simango was unhurt but two MDM supporters and a policeman were injured, he said.

Carvalho blamed rival political party Renamo, which Simango broke away from last year, for the incident.

But Renamo spokesperson Fernando Mazanga said he had no first-hand knowledge of the shooting and denied any involvement of the party's leaders.

Abandon the party

Police spokesperson Pedro Cossa confirmed that a violent incident involving the MDM and Renamo had occurred in Nacala-Porto, but said further information would not be released until Wednesday.

Mazanga blamed the MDM for stirring up trouble in heavily Renamo areas by trying to persuade Renamo members to abandon the party.

"What may have happened is that some local members got angry over the MDM's tactics," Mazanga said.

Simango left Renamo, the country's main opposition party, when its leaders refused to run him for re-election as mayor of Beira, Mozambique's second city.

He won the election with 62% of the vote, and used the momentum from his victory to form the breakaway MDM in March.

The Frelimo party, which has ruled Mozambique since independence in 1975, has already nominated President Armando Guebuza to stand for re-election.

Guebuza won with 64% of the vote in 2004. Analysts say it would be a long shot for either Simango or longtime Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama to defeat him.