June 16, 2004

Renamo intends to maintain its armed bands

Turning logic on its head, Renamo has claimed that the promise by the ruling Frelimo Party to get rid of illegal bands of armed men is an incitement to violence after Frelimo general secretary Armando Guebuza, the party's candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections, had pledged to act against the armed gangs of Renamo fighters who still terrorise parts of the central Mozambican province of Sofala. In response, the Renamo general secretary, Viana Magalhaes, said that Guebuza's words were a threat to return to war. According to him, his words were "a warning to the entire Mozambican people of the methods of governance that Armando Guebuza would use, should he win the presidential elections".

Renamo is the only Mozambican political party that has its own armed force which, in violation of the 1992 peace agreement, were never demobilised. For years the government has tolerated their presence, and has tried to deal with the problems they cause through dialogue. It even offered to incorporate some of them into the police force - an offer that was spurned by Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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