MAPUTO — The Mozambican government soldiers on Tuesday stormed a hideout of the country’s main opposition Renamo party in the northern province of Nampula.
Tensions between the two sides are posing the most serious threat to peace and stability over the years in the southern African country.
The Renamo militants, preparing an attack against riot police in the area, escaped to unknown whereabouts, the army said. The two sides exchanged fire for half an hour, sending panicked residents flee the scene.
Nampula police spokesperson Miguel Bartolomeu told reporters that the militants were guards of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in Nampula.
Dhlakama has a house in Nampula city. He lived in Nampula for two years, before leaving for Satungira, in the central province of Sofala. Dhlakama fled Satungira last week amid the army’s raid. A senior Renamo official was killed in the clash.
Satungira used to be the Renamo military headquarters during the civil war, which ended in 1992 under the Rome agreement.
“The army is telling those who panicked to return to their homes at Rapale,” said Bartolomeu.
In another development, the army overran a Renamo base in Maringue, also in Sofala, on Tuesday. The Mozambican television showed pictures of abandoned huts, weapons, chairs, tables among other items.
According to local media, the people abandoned their homes during the clashes, which left two militants killed. Joaquim Nido with Sofala police command said that two government troops were also wounded.
Tension continues in the central districts of Maringue and Muxungue. Muxungue was the scene of clashes in May this year in which five riot police and several Renamo fighters were killed. The army has been escorting vehicles passing through the region.
The Frelimo party-led government and Renamo are at loggerhead since last year. Dhlakama threatened to boycott the municipal elections to be held in November.
Renamo also said that the general elections planned for October next year will not be held, unless the current electoral law is changed.
On Monday, Renamo boycotted talks with the government aimed at resolving the political crisis which have been going on for two years.
President Armando Guebuza and Dhlakama were supposed to hold talks last month to resolve the crisis. The Mozambican Democratic Movement (MDM) accuses the government and Renamo of using force to resolve their problems.
The MDM leader Daviz Simango on Tuesday called on the two sides to use dialogue to resolve the crisis. – Xinhua.