The Mozambican police have warned the former rebel movement Renamo that it will use all means in its power to prevent the Renamo militia from blocking the country’s roads.

The police were responding to a threat made at a press conference on Monday in the central city of Beira by Horacio Calavete, the Renamo head of mobilisation in Sofala province, who claimed he was speaking on behalf of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, currently living in a bush camp somewhere in Gorongosa district.

Calavete said Dhlakama’s instructions were that the Renamo militia should set up armed road blocks on the main north-south highway between the Save river and the Inchope crossroads in Manica province.

There would also be “control points” on the roads from Inchope to Caia, and the bridge over the Zambezi River, and from Inchope to the western city of Tete.

Calavete said the decision had been taken in protest against the alleged murder and kidnapping of Renamo members and officials “every day”.

These Renamo threats amount to tearing up the agreement of September 5, 2014, on a cessation of military hostilities, signed by Dhlakama and by the then-president, Armando Guebuza.

“Due to terrorism against our members, many of our cadres are not undertaking political activities,” Calavete said.

“Plain clothes policemen and soldiers are torturing and murdering our members.

“Hence the measure of controlling vehicles is irreversible.”

The police response was swift.

At a Maputo press briefing on Tuesday, the spokesman for the general command of the police, Inacio Dina, said road blocks would not be tolerated.

“The police will use all means to respond to the Renamo threats to set up road blocks,” said Dina.

He condemned Calavete’s threats, and said Renamo should use peaceful means to solve any problems it had with the authorities.

“The police have a mandate to maintain public order and security,” he added.

“The job of the police is to prevent illegal acts.

“We shall prevent any attempt to set up road blocks.”

Independent Foreign Service