Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi will sign a peace agreement to formally end military hostilities with main opposition party, Renamo, almost three decades after the end of a civil war.
Renamo and Nyusi’s ruling party fought on opposing sides of the 16-year conflict that killed an estimated million people before a peace accord ended the fighting in 1992, although violence has flared up sporadically since.
Nyusi, keen to sign a final peace treaty before presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections in October, hailed progress towards peace. At the same time infighting in Renamo and an Islamic insurgency in the north continue to threaten national security.
“Thursday’s agreement provides for a formal end to clashes between the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces and the armed wing of the opposition,” Nyusi said, delivering a state of the union address in the country’s parliament.
Nyusi would sign the agreement with Renamo leader, Ossufo Momade, in the Gorongosa mountain range – Renamo’s stronghold and location of its headquarters and numerous bases.
Momade replaced long-time leader Afonso Dhlakama after his death last year, but does not command the same popularity across the party’s political and military wings.
A group of fighters publicly denounced him and said they would not hand over weapons while he is in charge.
Government intends to disarm Renamo fighters and reintegrate some back into the army or police. Previous clashes have been sparked by disputed election results, such as after the last presidential election in 2014.
Renamo accused the ruling Frelimo party of fraud in municipal elections last year and suspended participation in the peace process as a result.