Maputo — After a week of peaceful campaigning ahead of the 15 October general elections, the first serious incidents of violence between rival Mozambican political parties were reported on Tuesday.
In Chonguene, in the southern province of Gaza, a group of youthful supporters of the ruling Frelimo Party attacked campaigners from the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
The independent television station STV showed footage of bloodied and bandaged MDM members who said they had suffered an unprovoked assault. MDM posters had been torn up and laid scattered on the ground.
MDM general secretary Luis Boavida protested that the police did not lift a finger to stop the assaults, and refused even to escort the victims to safety.
Contacted by AIM on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the National Elections Commission (CNE), Paulo Cuinica, said that Boavida had complained verbally to the CNE about the attack. The CNE had asked him to make a formal complaint in writing, so that it can take “the necessary measures”.
In Nhangau, an outlying neighbourhood of Beira, supporters of the former rebel movement Renamo, injured three Frelimo members and destroyed Frelimo propaganda on Tuesday.
According to the spokesperson for the Frelimo Beira City Committee, Manuel Severino, the injured Frelimo members had to receive medical treatment at Beira Central Hospital.
Renamo claimed it had been provoked and Frelimo had started the clash.
In the northern province of Nampula, the police have arrested about a dozen members of opposition parties for various offences. At a Tuesday press conference reported by the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, the provincial police commander, Abel Nuro, said that three Renamo members in Liupo district are accused of stealing two bicycles, two motorbikes, and 5,000 meticais (about 165 US dollars)
In Alua, in Erati district, an operation supporter and a local chief were arrested for attempting to block a Frelimo parade.
In Nacaroa, one MDM member and one Renamo member have been arrested for destroying Frelimo propaganda. Another group of three opposition supporters were intercepted in Namicopo, on the outskirts of Nampula city, ripping up Frelimo posters.
Nuro said that an unspecified number of Renamo supporters are under arrest for the 1 September assault against a 15 year old girl, Isabel Aguiar, and her mother, Beatriz Romao, in the district of Angoche. The girl was attacked apparently because the Renamo group thought she was about to hoist a Frelimo flag. Romao was beaten when she went to her daughter's rescue.
Asked whether any Frelimo supporters had been detained, Nuro merely said that Frelimo was the party that had presented most complaints to the police.
Source: Agência de Informação de Moçambique