Renamo MPs quizzed over attacks in central Mozambique

2020-01-08 19:24

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Mozambique's prosecuting authority on Wednesday questioned four opposition lawmakers over a recent wave of highway ambushes that have claimed at least 10 lives in the central region.

Unknown armed men have in recent months attacked buses and trucks travelling on the main north-to-south highway in central Mozambique, an opposition bastion.

Government blames Renamo, a former guerrilla group turned opposition party, for the attacks, which have prompted stepped-up security including military escorts along on the road.

Renamo has dismissed the accusations, but the prosecution on Wednesday summoned lawmaker Ivone Soares, who heads Renamo's parliament group, as well as Antonio Muchanga, Jose Manteigas and Manuel Bissopo.

The four are accused of playing a role in the recruitment of youths to organise attacks.

"I came to the prosecution out of respect for Mozambicans, respect for the rule of law and I'm not afraid to clarify what I know," Muchanga told journalists afterwards.

He refused to give further details.

Renamo leader Ossufo Momade late last month rejected the accusations and urged the government to create a commission of inquiry into the attacks.

The unrest mainly in the provinces of Sofala and Manica came in the aftermath of disputed general elections in October in which President Filipe Nyusi won re-election.

His Frelimo party secured 73% of the votes cast - a result that opposition parties said was fraudulent.

Frelimo and Renamo, whose 1976-92 civil war left one million dead in the former Portuguese colony, signed a peace deal in August last year under which Renamo has promised to disarm its fighters.

However, a militant faction of Renamo has condemned the peace deal as treason. It claimed a string of attacks just before the election.

In addition to the ambushes in the centre of the country, northern Mozambique is in the grip of a two-year-old insurgency that has claimed several hundred lives.

Read more on:    frelimo  |  renamo  |  mozambique  |  southern africa
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