Mozambique: Renamo Base At Muxungue Closed

 

Maputo — The base of the former rebel movement Renamo at Muxungue, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, was closed on Wednesday, under the programme to demobilise and disarm the Renamo militia and integrate its members back into Mozambican society.

It was from the Muxungue base that Renamo used to launch its attacks on the main north-south highway (EN1), after its then leader, the late Afonso Dhlakama, returned to war in 2013.

The demobilisation is a key part of the peace agreement signed by Dhlakama’s successor, Ossufo Momade, with President Filipe Nyusi, in August 2019. Under this agreement, all Renamo military bases should have been closed by 21 August 2019 – but to date only two are known to have been closed, both in Sofala.

A statement from Mirko Manzoni, the chairperson of the international contact group set up to facilitate the dialogue between the government and Renamo, said that, over a period of 14 days, 251 former militiamen (including seven relatives of deceased guerrillas), once stationed at the Muxungue base, had been disarmed and demobilised, and have returned safely to their families.

Manzoni, who is also the Personal Envoy to Mozambique of United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres, said that to date 554 of Renamo’s armed men have been demobilised. This is 10.6 per cent of the 5,221 men whom the Renamo leadership claims to have under arms.

This figure is almost certainly an exaggeration. Furthermore, it is not clear how many of these men remain loyal to the leadership of Ossufo Momade, and how many have joined the dissident faction calling itself the “Renamo Military Junta”.

The closure of the Muxungue base was overseen by the Joint Technical Group for demobilisation formed by members appointed by the government and by Renamo. Also present were representatives of the local authorities and of the police. Manzoni’s statement did not say how many guns were handed over.

He said the demobilisation, disarming and reintegration of the former Renamo fighters is not an easy task, and that challenges are inevitable. Nonetheless, he reiterated the Contact Group’s commitment to supporting the process in order to achieve peace and reconciliation.

Measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease have slowed down the demobilisation. The need for social distancing means that no more than 20 former Renamo fighters can present themselves for demobilisation at any one time.

At the current pace, according to Thursday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, it will take until July 2021 to demobilise all the Renamo forces.

 

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique