Police deny any involvement in attack against Dhlakama

The commander of the Mozambican police in the central province of Manica, Armando Canhenze, has categorically denied that the police were in any way involved in the supposed attack against the motorcade of Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, on Saturday night.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

As reported by a Mozambican journalist stringing for the Portuguese news agency Lusa, the attack took place at about 19.00 in the locality of Chibata, in Vanduzi district, about 20 kilometres from the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio. Dhlakama’s motorcade was returning from the rally he addressed earlier in the day in Macossa district.

Shots were supposedly fired from the bush at the side of the road, and some of the Renamo militiamen fired back. Renamo claims that four of its men were injured: if so, they did not seek help at the nearest health unit, the Manica Provincial Hospital in Chimoio. For when journalists from the independent television station STV went looking for them, hospital staff said that nobody injured in the attack had been admitted.

The Lusa story claimed that the attackers were members of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR), the Mozambican riot police. But at 19.00 it is pitch dark in the Manica bush, and it is hard to see how the reporter could have been so categorical in identifying the assailants.

At a Sunday press conference in Chimoio, reported on Radio Mozambique, Canhenze said that no police unit in the province had any involvement in an attack on the motorcade. He urged Dhlakama to join with the government in efforts to seek an effective peace in Mozambique through “open and frank dialogue”.

He thought the accusations against the police were absurd, and argued that it would make no sense to launch an attack on Renamo in the middle of the bush. If the police really wanted to liquidate the members of the Renamo motorcade, it would be much easier to do it in a city, such as Chimoio.

“I have the possibility and the full capacity to kill all those people (from Renamo) in a short period, because they’re here with me in Chimoio”, he said. “If I wanted, it would just be a matter of surrounding them in an area 20 metres square. You would just surround them and kill them all there”.

Canhenze objected to the presence of a large number of Renamo militiamen in the city, in illegal possession of forearms, supposedly to protect Dhlakama.

“This situation makes no sense because it puts the public in a situation of panic”, he said. “I don’t armed men here in my province. Though they say they are Dhlakama’s bodyguards, for me it’s nonsense”.

Post published in: Africa News
  1. Ijaha LeManxeleni

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