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Mozambique: A final peace agreement between the government and Renamo

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The National Resistance of Mozambique (Renamo), a former rebellion that became the main opposition party in Mozambique, signed a final peace treaty with the Maputo government on Tuesday, August 6, 27 years after the end of the first civil war. President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade signed the document on the Peace Square in Maputo, attended by officials from across the continent, including South African Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa. and Rwandan, Paul Kagame, and to the applause of thousands of spectators.

This is for the two rivals the third attempt to conclude a final peace agreement. Renamo has never completely disarmed and has kept some of its fighters in the mountains of central Mozambique. The party accused the government of not meeting its commitments.

On Thursday, Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade had already signed an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. But Ossufo Momade is challenged internally by a group claiming to represent the military wing of Renamo.

The agreement puts an end to a lengthy process of negotiations launched by the historic leader of the National Resistance of Mozambique (Renamo), Alfonso Dhlakama, who died in May 2018, and comes just months ahead of the general elections scheduled for October 15. “The signing of the agreement paves the way for peaceful elections,” Cyril Ramaphosa said Tuesday. “This agreement, the fruit of a long process of negotiation, represents a fundamental progress in the construction of peace,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, the former colonial power, in a statement. Renamo had turned into a political party after a sixteen-year civil war (1976-1992), but it took up arms in 2013 against the government led by the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo). A ceasefire was declared in 2016, followed by peace negotiations.

The former rebellion began in early August the disarmament of its armed members. A total of 5,221 Renamo fighters are to hand over their arms to the government, which should end a negotiation process launched by Renamo’s historic leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who died in May 2018, and taken over by his successor, Ossufo Momade.

On 29 July, Parliament approved a new amnesty law for all crimes committed during the conflict between the government and Renamo since 2014. It concerns Renamo fighters who attacked civilians and government equipment. It also opens the way for Mr. Momade to leave his lair in the mountains.

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