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Mozambique opposition denounces fraud in local election amid unrest

Mozambique opposition denounces fraud in local election amid unrest   -  
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Demonstrations took place in Mozambique on Tuesday called by the opposition to denounce fraud in municipal elections, with police using tear gas in the capital Maputo.

While the country awaits the final results from last Wednesday's vote, the ruling party has been declared the winner in most towns where counting has concluded.

But that has been contested by the main opposition party, Renamo, which is claiming victory in Maputo in particular.

"We once again call on all Mozambicans to take part in a general demonstration to repudiate electoral fraud," Renamo's president Ossufo Momade told a crowd in Maputo.

"This is the beginning of the revolution in Mozambique."

Some 48 million Mozambicans were registered to vote for their local leaders in 65 municipalities in the southern African country.

As well as in the capital, demonstrations were reported in Chiure and Montepuez in the northeast and Nampula in the north.

The ruling party, Frelimo, and Renamo fought a brutal civil war from 1977 to 1992, devastating the economy and leaving almost one million people dead.

Frelimo has won every national election since the end of the war and has also had control over a large majority of municipalities in the former Portuguese colony, which became independent in 1975.

"There are many credible reports of irregularities on voting day and during the vote tabulation process," the US embassy in Maputo said in a statement on Monday.

Stressing the importance of a "clean, transparent and peaceful election process", the diplomats urged the country's authorities to act on complaints of irregularity "seriously" and "impartially".

The Electoral Commission said at a press conference on Tuesday that "all members involved in illegal practices will be held accountable if there is evidence".

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by police on Thursday in the district of Chiure in Cabo Delgado province.

The incident occurred when Renamo supporters came down to celebrate their victory that was emerging at the ballot box.

The police said in a statement that they had "accidentally fatally shot" the boy when they were dispersing protesters.

According to the local NGO Center for Public Integrity (CIP), the police also opened fire on gatherings in several other municipalities.

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