Renamo murders two Frelimo officials in Sofala

Maputo (AIM) – Gunmen of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo abducted three local officials of the ruling Frelimo Party on Saturday night in the central province of Sofala, and murdered two of them, according to the survivor, interviewed by the independent television station, STV.

RENAMO_INSURGENTS_nsnbc_fileThe Renamo attack occurred shortly before midnight in the Mutua region of Dondo district, about 50 kilometres west of Beira. The three men attacked were all Frelimo circle secretaries (the circle is the level of party organization immediately above the branch).

The survivor, Bernardo Gimo, speaking from his hospital bed, said that he and his wife were sleeping at home but were woken, a few minutes before midnight, by a loud noise at the door.

“My wife and I were frightened, and we remained silent”, Gimo said. “We heard loud noises at the door again. It was a group of men demanding that we open the door. We thought they were thieves, so we kept quiet”.

Then one of the gang threatened to burn the house down unless they opened the door. When they did so, they found ten Renamo members outside, four of them with AK-47 assault rifles, and the others with machetes. Gimo saw that the raiders had captured and tied up two other Frelimo secretaries, Arao Chiguemane and Antonio Macurreia.

“They tied me up alongside them”, Gimo said. “My wife pretended she needed to go to the bathroom outside the house, but on the way she fled into the bush”.

The Renamo commander forced the three captives to blindfold themselves with their own shirts. They were then marched through the bush for about two kilometers to a branch of the Pungue river.

“The commander called two armed men and ordered them to shoot us”, said Gimo.”We were still tied up, and they ordered us to sit down. Seconds later, I heard the first shot and I saw the body of Arao Chiguemane fall to the ground dead”.

A second shot followed, and Gimo heard Mucarreia cry out. Mucarreia was sitting next to Gimo and he felt his body slide to the ground. Gimo too fell to the ground, and he felt a sharp pain as a bullet hit his left arm.

“I rolled over and they realized I was still alive”, he said. “I heard another shot and felt another sharp pain in my back. I stayed quiet and pretended to be dead”.

A few minutes later the commander ordered his men to move on, and said “we’ll leave these bodies here, so that Frelimo finds its members”.

Gimo said that about four hours later, he succeeded in freeing himself from his bonds, and crawled away to a nearby farm to seek help. He was taken to the local health unit, where he was reunited with his wife who was unharmed. He was later transferred to Beira Central Hospital, and is now out of danger.

Reacting to the murders, the Frelimo General Secretary, Eliseu Machava, who is visiting Sofala, said this was an attempt by Renamo to intimidate his party.

“What Renamo is doing is absurd”, he said. “They are represented in the Assembly of the Republic (the Mozambican parliament), where they have the room to raise their political ideas, but they are resorting to murder to impose themselves politically”.

“Instead of killing Mozambicans, Renamo should be contributing to the well-being and development of the Mozambican nation”, said Machava.

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