Dhlakama admits ordering ambush

Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, has admitted that he personally gave the order for an ambush against government forces in the western province of Tete on 14 June.

Dhlakama
Dhlakama

Speaking on Monday, in the central city of Beira, and cited by Tuesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, Dhlakama said that attack took place three kilometes from a Renamo military base at Mucombedzi, in Moatize district,

“I can’t hide it. I gave the orders”, said Dhlakama. He claimed that “more than 35” members of the riot police died in the ambush, and a further ten died in hospital.

But according to the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Pedro Cossa, two policemen were wounded in the ambush, one of whom died on the way to hospital. According to Cossa, the police unit concerned had been taking supplies to a police post in the Tete interior. If this is the case, it will have been a small unit, certainly not consisting of 45 or more men.

Dhlakama’s statement contradicted that given immediately after the ambush by Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga, who claimed that it was the armed forces who had attacked Renamo, and not the other way round.

The ambush was a blatant violation of the agreement on a cessation of military hostilities, signed between Dhlakama and the then President, Armando Guebuza, on 5 September.

Dhlakama claimed there had earlier been four government attacks against the Renamo militia – one in the Mocumbedzi area, one in Funhalouro district, in the southern province of Inhambane, and two in Guija and Dindiza, in the neighbouring province of Gaza.

Dhlakama said he had authorized the ambush, after the Mocumbedzi commander had contacted him for instructions.

“Our force noted that government troops were about five kilometers from the base”, he said. “The commander, who is a major, asked – do we have to move the base again, because they’re going to attack us? I said – no, go and meet them, and the clash occurred three kilometres from the base”.

Dhlakama said his patience was running out, because of what he called “frequent provocations”. He threatened that he would retaliate against any future government attack, and claimed he was under pressure from local Renamo commander to respond. The government, however, has repeatedly denied that it is mounting such attacks.

“I am a man of peace”, claimed Dhlakama. “I fought for democracy. I shall continue fighting, and I don’t want to frighten away local and foreign investment, or to scare the public, but I am tired of Frelimo playing around”.

Post published in: Africa News

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