Mozambique's Renamo rejects peace talks

2013-11-06 08:01
(Jinty Jackson, AFP)

(Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Maputo - Mozambique's revived rebel movement Renamo on Tuesday spurned the government's invite for high level face-to-face talks to end destabilising military skirmishes.

The Frelimo-led government had called on its civil war foe Afonso Dhlakama to travel to Maputo on 8 November to discuss his grievances personally with President Armando Guebuza.

But just hours later Renamo rejected the invitation outright as "cynical".

Renamo spokesperson Fernando Mazanga branded the offer "a political propaganda campaign without minimal respect for ethics".

Supporters of Dhlakama - a rebel leader in Mozambique's brutal civil war - have been involved in a series of deadly attacks and are demanding a share of the country's resource wealth.

For many Mozambicans the crisis has uncomfortable echoes of a 16-year civil war between Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party that resulted in the deaths of around one million people.

Amid nearly a year of simmering tensions and sporadic attacks on police and civilians, the Mozambique army raided Dhlakama's bush camp on 21 October.

He has been in hiding since then, "trying to escape attack", according to Mazanga.

The factions signed a peace deal in 1992 and Renamo subsequently became the main opposition party, but has since seen its support erode.

"The solution is dialogue"

Guebuza said he wanted to hold talks "out of respect for the strong wishes of the Mozambican people", his office said in a statement reported by the state news agency.

Renamo accused the government of planning fresh assaults in the movement's strongholds in central Mozambique.

A face-to-face meeting between the two leaders is seen as the only way of ending the impasse after months of dialogue between Renamo and the government failed to yield results.

Gunmen, reportedly from Renamo, have attacked civilian vehicles almost daily on the main north-south highway in central Mozambique since the fall of Dhlakama's bush camp.

Last week Guebuza told AFP in an exclusive interview "the solution is dialogue. It is not a military solution", a day after government forces attacked another Renamo camp.

Both sides have said they want peace, although the tit-for-tat clashes continue.

Asked whether Renamo was preparing to act against the alleged assault by government forces, Mazanga replied "defence is an animal instinct. Any animal's first reaction is to defend itself and survive".

Renamo has in the past called for Guebuza to travel to the central Sofala province for talks, where Dhlakama has strong support.

It says the leader would be in danger of attacks if he travelled to Maputo.

Peace and stability

Renamo earlier threatened to disrupt local elections slated for 20 November unless the government gives in to its demands. Campaigning officially started on Tuesday, but the movement has refused to register.

Elections may be postponed in some restive areas, according to local media.

The prospect of a new war, along with a series of ransom kidnappings, has drawn strong reactions from Mozambicans, and thousands marched for peace and stability across the country on Thursday.

The authorities say at least 14 people - most wealthy Mozambicans of Asian origin - were kidnapped between 2011 and 2012.

But a renewed wave of kidnappings hit over the past three weeks. A teen in central city Beira was murdered in October when his family could not pay the fee.

On Tuesday morning two more women were abducted. One of the victims was a Portuguese citizen, the other the wife of an employee of aid agency Save the Children.

"A Portuguese citizen who was working for a company was kidnapped by four armed men," Portugal's consul Goncalo Gomes told AFP after the incident in Matola, a city that neighbours Maputo.

Save the Children country director John Grabowski confirmed via email that "the wife of our programme operation's director Paulo Chicupa was taken hostage by four armed gunmen this morning at their home where she was alone".

Analysts say the kidnappings stem from the instability in the country and are not related to Renamo's uprising.

Read more on:    renamo  |  armando guebuza  |  afonso dhlakama  |  mozambique  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.