by Staff Writers
Maputo (AFP) June 18, 2013
Mozambique's government on Tuesday blamed opposition party Renamo for a deadly attack a day earlier on a military arms depot but said it would maintain dialogue with the civil war foe.
"There is no doubt. They were Renamo's men," said Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane.
He added that there were "enough indications to prove" the former rebels turned opposition group had carried out the attack early Monday morning on an arms depot close to the coastal city of Beira.
The attackers killed five soldiers and wounded two before making off with an unspecified number of weapons from their arsenal, according to the government.
The attack occurred at the start of new talks between the two former civil war foes and amid Renamo's renewed militarisation.
While pointing the finger at Renamo over the raid, the government signalled it was determined to continue talks with the ex-rebels.
"We will meet Renamo on Monday to talk about our problems," government spokesman Gabriel Muthisse said.
Six previous rounds of negotiations have failed to yield a breakthrough on any of the major issues on the table, including Renamo's threat to boycott upcoming polls if the election law is not amended.
Relations between the parties have been tense since the end of a 16-year civil war in 1992.
Contacted earlier Tuesday by AFP, Renamo declined to either confirm or deny responsibility for the raid.
But the party's lawmakers appeared to have been caught off guard by the news.
"I have no knowledge of this attack," the party's head negotiator, Saimone Macuiana, said Monday.
Mozambican authorities say they are trying to track down the perpetrators.
Calling the attack "macabre and criminal", Mondlane denied his country's military forces had been unprepared for the raid.
"If our country is working, it is thanks to our security forces," he said.
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