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Bus attack kills two and wounds eight in Sofala; Victims buried following road ambush in Palma

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 21 September, 2020


  • Today: Prime minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário launches cholera vaccination campaign in city of Pemba, with President Filipe Nyusi attending, from 10.30am
  • Today: National investment bank BNI closes applications for its covid-19 mitigation business loans, after receiving applications for MZN9bn against available financing of MZN1.6bn
  • Tomorrow: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

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Three more deaths from covid-19 were announced over the weekend
The health authorities also announced another 507 cases of covid-19, most in Maputo city and province

The best of the rest:

  • Bus attack kills two and wounds eight in Sofala (O País)
  • António Muchanga says Guebuza is reaping what he has sown (Mediafax)
  • Victims buried following road ambush in Palma (Lusa)
  • Brazilians arrested with more than 23kg of cocaine bound for Mozambique (AIM)
  • Bank of Mozambique seeks to combat terrorism financing (VOA, Notícias)

Bus attacks kill two and wounds eight in Sofala (O País)
Two people died and eight others were injured, one of them seriously, in attacks on buses in the central province of Sofala on the EN1 highway on Sunday morning. The targets were one vehicle operated by City Link and three of Nagy Investments, heading for the cities of Nampula and Quelimane, which were being escorted by Mozambican police. They were shot at near the border of Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts, by people hidden in a forest, according to one survivor. The clinical director of the Gorongosa Health Centre, Zambo Mulandeza, told O País that one person was dead on arrival at the centre. The other died at Manica Provincial Hospital, where they had been transferred due to the seriousness of their injuries. This is the second attack in exactly the same place in 48 hours, the newspaper reports.
Nhongo and his Military Junta — assuming they are the culprits — are upping the intensity of their attacks. Nhongo says it’s in retaliation for his three sons being abducted and tortured. Recently there had been optimism that there would be progress towards neutralising the Nhongo issue by now — but things seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

António Muchanga says Guebuza is reaping what he has sown (Mediafax)
Renamo MP António Muchanga said Armando Guebuza is “reaping what he has sown”, following the former president's complaint that the Attorney General's office is acting in a political manner in the case of so-called hidden debts. Guebuza himself appointed the Attorney General, Beatriz Buchili, in 2014, because — Muchanga says — she was a suitable figure to carry out political expediencies — including the episode of the convening of the Council of State on 19 July that year, in order to remove Muchanga's immunity, arrest him and humiliate him. Muchanga said that Guebuza was lucky, because he should have suffered the same indignity as Muchanga who was handcuffed and arrested just after the end of the Council of State session. “Armando Emílio Guebuza has to eat the bread that he helped the devil to knead," Muchanga said in a press conference on Friday.
Muchanga makes a point — and in doing so provides a moment of effective opposition that is largely lacking from his party’s leader, Ossufo Momade. Muchanga was talked about as a potential leader but did not formally run in 2019. He remains something of a figurehead for Renamo members who are dissatisfied with Momade.

Victims buried following road ambush in Palma (Lusa)
The bodies of 24 people have been buried by relatives following an attack on public transport near Pundanhar, about 40km from the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province. According to survivors, an armed group ordered three buses to stop. The first one escaped and the following two were shot at, with one of them set on fire. Despite the risk, one of the families of the victims visited the site days later and returned to Palma with the body of their relative, alerting others that there were more bodies left in the area around the vehicles. The dirt road has been the only relatively safe alternative route still used to reach Palma — the town closest to Total’s gas project site at Afungi — after insurgents made the only asphalt road unsafe.

Brazilians arrested with more than 23kg of cocaine bound for Mozambique (AIM)
Two women and a man have been arrested in Brazil as they were going to board a plane bound for Mozambique with over 23kg of cocaine. The three were arrested on Wednesday night at Guarulhos Airport, São Paulo, planning to board a flight to Maputo via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The drug was distributed inside chocolate packages, jute bags and metallised ribbons. The women, and a man who was seen in her company, are being held by the federal authorities in prison.

Bank of Mozambique seeks to combat terrorism financing (VOA, Notícias)
The governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Rogério Zandamela, has announced that the central bank will introduce unique bank identification numbers to combat the financing of terrorism in Cabo Delgado province and money laundering. “Internationally, Mozambique has to move in this direction, because the world has a very limited tolerance for countries that are seen as relaxed in the area of ​​money laundering and financing of terrorism,” he said, adding that it was hard to help security forces fight terrorists in Cabo Delgado without knowing who was handling their money. Zandamela acknowledged that terrorism was discouraging investment and said that the central bank was working in collaboration with the Defence and Security Forces to ensure there were no delays with the implementation of oil and gas projects in Cabo Delgado. He also said that the projects remained on schedule.
It is already difficult to move money in and out of Mozambique, and stricter financial controls, however cleverly designed, will inevitably slow investments further. But given the level of organised crime in Mozambique, whether through the drugs trade, poaching, kidnappings and the financing of the conflict in Cabo Delgado, current regulations are not working and need to be improved.

Company Announcements

  • MRG Metals published the results of aircore drilling at the Nhacutse target of its Corridor South heavy mineral sands tenement in Gaza province. Two of the 14 holes had intersected grades that suggested strandline (former shoreline) style mineralisation in the area, the company said (see here)

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