Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, which is also the main opposition party in the parliament, has announced that Renamo will cease its military attacks for the next week.

Speaking at a media conference here, which he addressed by telephone from his military headquarters in the central district of Gorongosa on Tuesday, Dhlakama said the truce would begin at midnight on Tuesday and would last for the next seven days,

He claimed that this provisional truce was his own initiative taken after a telephone conversation on Monday with President Filipe Nyusi. Dhlakama said he understood that Mozambicans want to spend the New Year holiday at peace.

During the truce, Renamo units will not leave their bases, he said. He stressed that he had already sent the order out to Renamo commanders, and guaranteed that his orders would be obeyed. Citizens could therefore move around the country without fear of attack.

I want to guarantee that the Renamo forces will carry out their orders,” Dhlakama said. There would be no further attacks against vehicles on the roads, or against government positions.

Any attack that does occur is by somebody else, not by Renamo,” he added.

Dhlakama said that, as long as there was no incident with the government forces, the truce could be prolonged, which would also provide a favourable environment for further negotiations between the government and Renamo.

Nyusi told the media on Monday of his phone conversation with Dhlakama. He said the call was to wish each other Happy Holidays. But, as always, this type of contact must be exploited to the maximum. We took the opportunity to speak at length about the question of peace.

Nyusi did not announce the truce, but said he would allow Dhlakama to give his own version of what the two men talked about.