Mozambique: Renamo dissident leader announces truce for peace negotiations to begin

Renamo dissident leader Mariano Nhongo has announced the suspension of ambushes and vehicle attacks on roads and villages in central Mozambique to allow the start of peace negotiations with the government next Monday. 

“I ordered my military to stop attacking any more, I have stopped the war for the Mozambican people to walk free,” Mariano Nhongo told Lusa, in telephone contact, when he announced a unilateral truce to put an end to military hostilities on roads and villages in Manica and Sofala provinces, central Mozambique.

The Military Junta of Renamo, the largest opposition party, led by former guerrilla leader Mariano Nhongo, is accused of carrying out armed attacks against civilians and government forces on roads and villages in the provinces of Sofala and Manica, central Mozambique, incursions that have caused the death of at least 30 people since August last year.

Mariano Nhongo assured that he would send his five-man team to the dialogue table between Monday and Wednesday to negotiate with the Mozambican executive, guaranteeing his commitment to peace.

The leader of the self-proclaimed Renamo Military Junta, who again denounced the persecution against him and his supporters, said that a second round of talks with Mirko Manzoni, personal envoy of the UN Secretary General, scheduled for Saturday, had been cancelled because he was heading for a new hiding place, where there was no telephone network. 

“Let’s end the war, I don’t want to hear any more planes or quick intervention units on foot looking for the Renamo Military Junta, let’s end the war,” said Mariano Nhongo. 

On Tuesday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced that Mozambique’s Defence and Security Forces had captured three men close to the leader of the Renamo dissident group, one of whom was his field assistant. 

The former military strategist of historic leader Afonso Dhlakama said that he would not retaliate against the capture of his men and would negotiate for the government to release those who were detained. 

“We must release them so that we can negotiate”, stressed Mariano Nhongo.

Nhongo’s group demands better conditions for reintegration, the renegotiation of the 2019 peace agreement between the government and Renamo, and the resignation of Renamo’s current president, Ossufo Momade, whom they accuse of having diverted the negotiation process from the ideals of his predecessor, Afonso Dhlakama, a historic leader who died in May 2018.

The UN Secretary General’s representative in Mozambique had already announced that the Renamo dissident group was willing to negotiate.