Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mozambique Fires Army Chief

Maputo fires army chief

Friday, 28 June 2013 00:00

MAPUTO. — Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza has fired his army chief, his office said on Wednesday, amid escalating tension with former rebels.

Guebuza dismissed Paulino Jose Macaringue “as head of the general staff of the defence forces of Mozambique,” the government said in a communique. No explanation was given for the axing. He was replaced by ruling party Frelimo loyalist and former independence fighter Graca Tomas Chongo.

Mozambique is gripped by fears of a return to conflict with Frelimo’s former civil war foes, Renamo, after guerrilla-style attacks on civil vehicles.

The attacks took place in the central Sofala Province while military and police are stationed in large numbers around the bush camp where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama is holed up.

Three weeks ago, Macaringue was the victim of a brazen robbery that caused embarrassment for the government.

Thieves attacked the army chief in the capital and made off with his car, three guns and his laptop leading to fears state secrets might end up in the wrong hands.

Despite the army shake-up, Guebuza announced he was keeping on the vice army chief, Olimpio Cambona, the highest-ranking Renamo member in the army, whom he appointed in 2008. One of Renamo’s main complaints against the Frelimo led government is over the promised integration of its armed forces into the national army.

— AFP.

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