Mozambique parties clash ahead of vote
13 October 2014, 20:55
Maputo - Day-long fighting erupted between the supporters of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo and opposition party Renamo, as they concluded electioneering ahead of polls this week, police said on Monday.
Feuding between Frelimo and Renamo dates back to the southern African nation's almost 16-year-long civil war which ended in 1992. The two groups have had an uneasy relationship since.
Brawling supporters clashed in the northern city of Nampula Sunday, where 23 people were injured and 13 others arrested, marking a serious case of political related violence before Wednesday's vote.
Police were "forced to use teargas" to disperse Renamo members who were "creating total chaos in Nampula," said spokesman Miguel Bartolomeu.
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He said Frelimo supporters did not retaliate during the skirmishes that lasted almost the entire day.
"The police arrested 13 people in connection with this incident," he said adding that all those arrested were Renamo sympathisers.
The violence took place ahead of a rally by Renamo's presidential candidate Afonso Dhlakama, held on the same day as the ruling Frelimo.
Renamo has blamed Frelimo for the violence, accusing the police of firing live ammunition at their supporters and being partisan.
"Frelimo members, dressed in party T-shirts and carrying banners provoked our youths," Renamo MP, Ivone Soares told AFP.
"They (Frelimo members) insulted them calling them names like, 'bandito' (bandits - a name frequently attributed to Renamo by Frelimo in the past).
Wednesday's presidential, legislative and provincial election is being closely watched especially by foreign investors, as Mozambique stands on the cusp of reaping vast wealth from its nascent gas industry.