Maputo, 7 Dec (AIM) – Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has claimed that police invaded its offices in the northern city of Nampula on Tuesday, and detained dozens of Renamo members.
According to a report in the latest issue of the bulletin on the municipal elections issued by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the latest trouble flared up when Renamo’s own security guards seized two people whom it claimed were plain clothes police officers spying on Renamo demonstrations.
One of the men did indeed identify himself as a police officer, and Renamo then released him. But the second agent denied he was a member of the police. Instead, according to the Renamo spokesperson in Nampula, Nelson Carvalho, he said he was a member of Renamo and that he had been accompanying the Renamo marches since they began.
Renamo said its security, on interrogating him, discovered that he was an agent of the police Special Operations Group (GOE), and that he had indeed been accompanying the demonstratons since they started.
The GOE member had supposedly been sending information to his chief, about the route of the marches and the content of the speeches made by the Renamo leadership in Nampula.
Carvalho claimed “he is a person who is working on the orders of the State Intelligence and Security Service (SISE), of the police and of Frelimo. These are people infiltrated by Frelimo to stain the image of Renamo”.
Members of the GOE and the UIR (Rapid Intervention Unit – the Mozambican equivalent of the riot police), raided the Renamo Nampula offices, where they rescued the GOE agent, and also detained dozens of Renamo members.
“In addition to seizing more than 50 of our members, the UIR and the GOE looted our property, including electronic equipment, loudspeakers, computers and money. They also took mobile phones from several members of Renamo”, declared Carvalho.
The general commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, has called for calm during the repeat elections that will be held on Sunday in the municipalities of Marromeu, Nacala-Port, Gurue and Milange.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the end of a course for sergeants in the central town of Nhamatanda, Rafael said “we are not enemies of any political party. We are in favour of public order. We are your police force, and we are asking you to collaborate with us so that the voting will be successful”.
Police would be present at the polling stations merely for protection, he continued, “so that there is no alteration of public order and security, and so that there are no opportunists”.
According to the spokesperson of the National Elections Commission (CNE), Paulo Cuinica, speaking at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, the repeat elections will cost 41.4 million meticais (about 647,000 US dollars, at the current exchange rate).