Mozambique Rebel Leader Announces Two-month Ceasefire

Mozambique rebel leader announces two-month ceasefire

MAPUTO, Jan 3, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Jan, 2017 ) - Mozambican rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama announced Tuesday a two-month ceasefire in the rumbling conflict between Renamo and the government, extending a week-long truce that was welcomed by the president. Worsening clashes between the Frelimo government and Renamo, an armed insurgent group and also an elected opposition party, have revived the spectre of Mozambique's civil war that ended more than 20 years ago.

"There have been some minor incidents, but the seven-day truce went well, so I announce the extension of the truce for 60 days, until March 4," Dhlakama said in a telephone press conference. "The truce is intended to build an atmosphere conducive to advancing talks in Maputo in peace and tranquility for both sides." Dhlakama, who lives in hiding in the Gorongosa mountains in central Mozambique, said Renamo forces would not attack government troops or positions.

Last year saw a sharp escalation in violence, and more than 15,000 people have been forced to flee to government-run camps, relatives' homes or across the border to Malawi and Zimbabwe. The unexpected truce announcement came after tentative moves towards a peace process were suspended indefinitely last year due to setbacks including the killing of a Renamo negotiator. President Filipe Nyusi said on Monday the truce was "productive", according to local television reports. Trust "is being created," he said, adding that government forces did not launch offensive attacks on Renamo.