Maputo, 27 Aug (AIM) – The leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, Ossufo Momade, has threatened to “paralyse” the country, in the event that any Renamo members are murdered.
According to Momade, “if one of Renamo’s members is killed, we will bring this country to a halt. We have that strength.”
Momade’s statements are clearly a response to an alleged attempt to assassinate the mayor of the northern city of Nampula, Paulo Vahanle. Renamo members seized a member of the Unit for the Protection of High-ranking Individuals (UPAI), a branch of the Mozambican Police (PRM), on 22 August, and confiscated a firearm and ammunition from him.
Vahanle is a member of Renamo, and he was elected Mayor of Nampula in 2018. He is standing for a further term of office in the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October.
Vahanle’s predecessor, Mahamudo Amurrane, was murdered in October 2017, and Vahanle says he is stepping up his security to ensure that he does not share Amurrane’s fate.
Momade accuses the ruling party Frelimo of being involved in the alleged assassination attempt, complaining that he suffered a similar attack himself a few years ago.
“This is a Frelimo party project. Frelimo wants to try to annihilate some members of Renamo. I’m going to make an appeal to the head of state: we need to correct these situations”, said Momade.
“Peace is under threat and it’s a disgrace for President Filipe Nyusi himself and for Mozambique”, he said.
The police admit that the man seized by Renamo is indeed a police officer, but claim that he was stationed, in plain clothes, in the main Nampula square to protect the mayor and members of the public attending the celebrations of the 67th anniversary of Nampula’s elevation to the status of a city.
These are Momade’s first threats to bring the country to a standstill after the conclusion of the demobilization and disarmament of former Renamo guerrillas. The last military base of the Renamo militia was closed in June, in Gorongosa district, in the central province of Sofala, bringing the total number demobilized since 2019 to 5,221.