Homoine fighting: more soldiers hospitalised

A further two seriously injured soldiers from the Mozambican armed forces (FADM) were admitted on Wednesday to the Chicuque Rural Hospital, in the southern province of Inhambane, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.

This follows reports that six members of the defence and security forces were killed, and eight hospitalized on Tuesday, as the army moved to dislodge Renamo gunmen who were trying to re-establish military bases at Nhamungue and Catine, in the Inhambane district of Homoine.

“Mediafax” believes that the FADM has indeed succeeded in pushing the Renamo groups out of Nhamangue and Catine, but fears they will now disperse and resort to scattered, guerrilla attacks in Inhambane.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Renamo gunmen have appeared in Mandimba, Lago and Marrupa districts in the northernmost province of Niassa. But the provincial police command, cited by the independent daily “O Pais”, says it has no knowledge of any armed Renamo presence in Niassa.

“So far we don’t have any information that would allow us to say there are armed Renamo groups circulating”, said Alfredo Fumo, the head of public relations of the police command.

The police in Inhambane had also initially denied there were any Renamo gunmen in Homoine. The key difference between the two cases is that in Homoine there were already reliable eye-witness reports of the Renamo presence, cited by the press. So far no journalist in Niassa has come across any similar eye-witnesses.

Claims in some of the media that Renamo has reoccupied its headquarters at Satunjira, in the central province of Sofala, have now been conclusively denied, with reporters from the independent television station, STV, finding that the FADM remains in firm control of Satunjira.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama lived at Satunjira for about a year, and the government is convinced that Renamo military operations, including repeated ambushes against FADM patrols, were planned from there. The FADM occupied Satunjira on 21 October, and Dhlakama fled into the bush. He has not been seen in public since then, but some journalists have been able to interview him by telephone, and the FADM believes he is still in overall control of his men.

The freely distributed paper “A Verdade” claimed, on 7 December, that Renamo had retaken Satunjira, but no evidence was produced to back up this claim. Now STV has been inside Satunjira, and its footage shows that the FADM is now running what was once Dhlakama’s headquarters.

The cabin that used to be Dhlakama’s office has been converted into a military kitchen, and senior FADM officers are sleeping in huts that once accommodated Renamo leaders.

Post published in: Africa News

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