Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:41 am
Maputo - Police fired tear gas on Wednesday to disperse youths rioting in central Mozambique after reports of forced conscription as the military battles a revived rebel group, a rights group and residents said.
Security forces clashed with protesters in central city Beira, according to the Human Rights League (LDH).
"There is a revolt on the part of the population. The police have been using tear gas," LDH representative Helder Jafar told AFP.
There were "many injuries and arrests", he added.
Residents confirmed police fired tear gas in several outlying neighbourhoods of Beira while protesters threw stones at a police station.
"There are barricades in the streets and cars are being burnt," said Stella Santos, who lives in Manga, one of the affected Beira neighbourhoods.
"They say they [the military] are conscripting the young people," she told AFP.
Local newspapers reported that the military was going from door to door forcibly conscripting youngsters to fight against a revived Renamo insurgency elsewhere in the central Sofala province.
Some Beira residents who asked to remain anonymous told AFP that the conscription was a "fact", and that the military used "kidnappings" to increase its numbers.
"The population is furious. They want to burn any car that passes through the city," said a student.
Three neighbourhoods were believed to have been affected.
Authorities slammed the reports as "a rumour aimed at discrediting this sacred, patriotic duty to the fatherland by the youth".
"It is not true that the National Defence Ministry or other security forces are undertaking forced recruitment for military service," the department said in a statement.
Though Mozambican law allows for involuntary conscription of youths aged 18 years and above, in practice, anyone who does not wish to serve can get out of the draft if they provide a justification.
The 13 000-strong force is therefore almost exclusively staffed with volunteers as a soldier's stipend is enticement for many of the country's poor, unemployed youths.
Since April this year the army has waged ongoing battles against Renamo guerrillas around 200km north of Beira in the Gorongosa district, as well as around the town of Muxungue to the south.
The Beira protests come just a week after the candidate for opposition party the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) was elected mayor in local elections.
The city is only the second not controlled by the ruling Frelimo party.
Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:37 pm
Cape Town - Tourists heading to the southern, coastal parts of Mozambique this festive season need not cancel travel plans, despite reports of rebel violence erupting in certain parts of the country.
Concerns about travel to the country were raised recently when the French embassy in Maputo, among others, issued a travel advisory, warning tourists to avoid the troubled central Mozambican province of Sofala.
The province saw an outbreak of clashes between Renamo rebel groups and government forces in the run-up to last week's local elections.
“We’ve been monitoring the situation as closely as possible. So far we’ve had no negative reports from any of our lodges or from the main tourist roads in the southern parts of the country,” said Tony Birkholtz marketing manager of Barra Resorts in Mozambique.
He explained that the outbreak of violence was concentrated mainly in the central and northern parts of the country, which are far removed from the coastal areas where the bulk of South African tourists head for their holidays.
David Robbetze from the South Africa-Mozambique Chamber of Commerce confirmed that conflict between Renamo rebels and the government is restricted to three specific areas:
- The road between the Save river and the small town of Muxungue (about 100 kilometre stretch of road).
- The Gorongosa/Maringue area.
- The Rapale district, about 35 kilometres from Nampula city.
“Military convoys operate on the main road through Muxungue and if there is an absolute need that a person needs to travel this route, they need to get further information on the use of the convoys,” Robbetze explained.
He added that people travelling through the north of the country are advised to use other routes via Zimbabwe.
Despite concerns over a spate of recent kidnappings in Maputo, both Robbetze and Birkholtz said that visitors need not avoid the city. Birkholtz said that local businessmen have been the main target of the kidnappings.
“As far as the conflict is concerned, Maputo is safe. Normal crime does of course exist, like in any world city, so tourists are advised to be vigilant,” said Robbetze.
While many resorts have received a number of cancellations for the festive season, Birkholtz said that they are already seeing a recovery, with new bookings having come through this week.
In Robbetze’s view, the biggest concern South African tourists to Mozambique should have this season is the usual border post congestion. He advised travellers to avoid trying to cross the border on public holidays and the day or two before and after Christmas.
Information and contact details for concerned travellers:
If you are heading to Mozambique in the coming weeks and would like to keep tabs on the situation in the country, you can contact Mozambique Tourism on (011) 431 4067 / 4061, the Mozambique Consulate General on (011) 327 5704/5/7/9 or the Mozambique High Commission on (012) 401 03 000.
Also check out the Barra Resorts website for emergency numbers in the Inhambane area, as well as AA’s useful information round-up for the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Post.
Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:46 pm
Maputo - Mozambique's government said on Wednesday that Renamo rebels have killed 10 people during six weeks of unrest, and warned that the military may soon go on the offensive.
"Ten people lost their lives and around 26 people have been injured... as a result of attacks by Renamo guerrillas," defence ministry spokesperson Cristovao Chume said.
There have been an escalation in tensions between the Frelimo government and Renamo supporters, who are calling for a larger slice of Mozambique's rapidly growing resource wealth.
The two parties fought a brutal near 16-year civil war that ended in 1992 after the deaths of an estimated one million people.
Chume said there had been a worrying "escalation of attacks by Renamo against people and their property", particularly along the country's main north-south highway in the central Sofala province.
Children and foreigners, including a South African national, were among those killed in the recent attacks, said Chume, adding a Brazilian citizen was among the wounded victims.
"The government, the state and the people of Mozambique cannot continue to watch situations like this happening in the country indefinitely," he warned, in the military's first public statement in weeks.
The army said armed members of the guerrilla group-turned-opposition party were also targeting military positions in Sofala.
The government over-ran Renamo's former military headquarters in the central Gorongosa mountains in late October.
"Since then we have not taken any offensive action, and with much concern and serenity we have watched these drastic attacks against civilians," Chume said.
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:18 pm
SA visitors are warned not to enter Mozambique at the moment, as locals are responding to Xenophobic attacks on Mozambiquans in SA!
SA citizens have allegedly been trucked out of the country, and trucks forced to turn back to SA.
Border posts are advising SA citizens not to pass through.
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:38 pm
Are those attacks really Xenophobic or are they not rather an expression of fear from the South Africans' side, that foreigners are taking jobs away from them?
Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:50 pm
It is not about the jobs and fear. If it was about chasing foreigners out,the biggest concentration of foreigners is in old Hillbrow, how come they haven't taken them on then?
Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:09 pm
Why do they want to chase them away then? What harm are they doing
Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:08 pm
Oooh, Lis! You must read comments on News24...all sorts of theories about how lazy/dependant locals have become....and envious of the hardworking foreigners, many of whom are illegal immigrants...etc. etc.
It is extremely complicated, but some high-level local leaders have called for foreigners to go in recent weeks....in couched terms, and their followers are taking it literally, IMO.
Also, it is lovely to loot goods, never mind the excuse!
Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:21 pm
I have decided not to try to understand
Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:29 pm
It should appear on international tv channels at some stage...
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