Head of RENAMO information department released

The head of the information department of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo, Jeronimo Malagueta, was released from the Maputo top security prison on Friday, on payment of bail of 20,000 meticais (about 655 US dollars).

Jeronimo Malagueta
Jeronimo Malagueta

Malagueta can now wait at home for his trial on charges of incitement to violence, arising from an inflammatory press conference he held last June.

On 21 June, Malagueta announced that Renamo would prevent the movement of vehicles along the main north-south highway between the Save river and Muxungue, in Sofala province, as well as the movement of trains along the Sena line between the Moatize coal basin and Beira.

Malagueta’s statement was interpreted in some quarters as “a declaration of war”. At the press conference he was asked if that was the correct interpretation to put on his words, but he declined to answer.

The police did not pick up Malagueta immediately after his incendiary statements, but only after Renamo attacks began two days later against trucks on the Save-Muxungue road. Two people died in those initial ambushes.

Malaguta was detained that day, as he was leaving his home, and taken to the offices of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC). When a court validated his preventive detention, he was taken to the top security jail.

Two months later, in an interview with the Portuguese news agency Lusa, Malagueta invoked the Nuremburg defence – he said he was not guilty of anything because he was only following orders given by his superiors in Renamo.

In his Lusa interview, Malagueta said he was just “a tool” of his party. “They told me ‘Read this paper out and present it'. I had no way of denying. I had to read the document”, he claimed.

“I did what my party told me to do”, he added. “I never thought the consequences would fall on my shoulders”. He thought his arrest “unjust”, because he was just “a loudspeaker” for Renamo.

On his release, Malagueta declined to answer any questions from reporters. He was met at the prison door by Antonio Muchanga, the spokesperson for Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who thought it unjust that Malagueta had spent over nine months in preventive detention before a judge had decided to grant him bail, even though Renamo had submitted a petition of habeas corpus.

Post published in: Africa News

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