Human Rights Watch: Impunity encourages abuses in Mozambique

"Impunity for grave abuses, long prevalent in Mozambique, encourages future abuses," warned Human Rights Watch in a report in January. The report looked at the fighting between Renamo and the government in 2016, and says both sides "committed numerous abuses" and that "the government has not met its obligation under international human rights law to hold those responsible for serious abuses on both sides to account."

"Human Rights Watch documented seven cases of enforced disappearance - the government’s arrest of an individual but refusal to provide information on their whereabouts - and heard credible reports of many more cases. The military also arbitrarily detained those it suspected of belonging to or supporting Renamo or its armed group and beat suspects in custody. The houses and property of those arrested were at times burned or destroyed. A number of Renamo officials and activists were killed or nearly killed by unidentified assailants." The office of Pfesident Filipe Nyusi denied all the Human Rights Watch allegations.

Renamo "was implicated in the kidnappings and killings of political figures working with the government or its ruling party (Frelimo), or people Renamo apparently suspected of being government informants. Armed Renamo fighters also looted at least five medical facilities, threatening or denying access to health care for thousands of people in remote areas. Renamo’s armed group also committed ambushes and sniper attacks against public transport, mainly on the N1 road in Manica and Sofala provinces. According to the government, 43 people died and 143 were injured in such attacks from November 2015 to December 2016." Party leader Afonso Dhlakama "has admitted to giving orders to attack public buses that he claimed were secretly transporting soldiers. The allegations of political assassinations, however, Renamo has rejected as ruling party 'propaganda'.”

The report says "the Mozambican government has failed to adequately investigate the alleged abuses documented in this report. Victims and witnesses of government abuses told Human Rights Watch that the authorities had never contacted them, nor did they otherwise learn of investigations." The full report is on

Source: Joseph Hanlon (