Maputo AIM) – Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s rebel movement Renamo, on Wednesday announced that he is extending the current truce between Renamo and the government’s defence and security forces for an indefinite period.
Source: Dhlakama extends truce for indefinite period – The Zimbabwean 05.05.2017
The truce first took effect on 27 December, after phone calls between Dhlakama and President Filipe Nyusi. Initially the truce was for just a week, but it was then extended twice.
As the truce was due to expire on Thursday, Dhlakama held another press conference by telephone, this time to announce an extension “with no fixed date”. Speaking from his military base in the central district of Gorongosa to reporters gathered in the Renamo office in Maputo, Dhlakama made it clear that, although the truce was now for an indefinite period, it was not yet a final peace deal, but it was a step in that direction.
The renewed truce “is great news for the Mozambican people”, said Dhlakama. “The indefinite truce is different from the truces I announced previously. By announcing this truce, I have changed my strategy because I was listening to people, particularly some business people who were afraid”.
They had feared that, after the extension of the truce for just two months, the fighting might resume. But now, Dhlakama said, “peace is becoming effective peace. The truce is more to reassure Mozambicans, business people, intellectuals and foreigners, that Mozambique now has another image, an image of peace, tranquility and of a country that has all the conditions for investment”.
He confirmed that he has remained in regular phone contact with Nyusi and that, as Nyusi announced last week, government forces have been withdrawing from parts of Gorongosa that had once housed Renamo camps.
Dhlakama also confirmed that Renamo and the government have set up two centres to verify the truce, one in Maputo, and the other in Gorongosa.
The truce has been holding. Since December last year, there have been no further ambushes by Renamo gunmen against the country’s roads or railways. Vehicles now move freely along the roads without any need for convoys under military escort. Nor have there been any further reports of Renamo attacks against police stations, health posts or other government facilities.
Dhlakama, however, is insisting on remaining in the Gorongosa bush. He cites security fears as his reason for not returning to Maputo or any other Mozambican city.