The Mozambican authorities have suspended the system of convoys under armed escort along particularly dangerous stretches of road in the central region of the country and motorists are now free to drive along these roads at any time they choose.

According to the Mozambican police, the restrictions on road transport were lifted on Dec 28, the second day of the truce declared by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the rebel movement Renamo.

There was no public announcement of the suspension of the convoys, and Dhlakama himself seemed unaware of it, as during his media conference on Tuesday he called for an end to the convoys, even though there had been none for the previous six days.

The spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Inacio Dina, told journalists Tuesday that the restrictions on road transport were lifted on Dec 28. As you know, this is a matter that is being dealt with at the political level. But we in the police praise the measure. It ensures that people can move around freely and in peace, he added.

Convoys had operated throughout most of 2016 on three stretches of road where attacks by Renamo gunmen had been particularly frequent. Two of these were parts of the main North-South highway as it passed through the central province of Sofala — between the Save River and the small town of Muxungue, and between Nhamapadza and Caia, on the south bank of the Zambezi River. The third stretch was between Vanduzi and Changara on the road from the port of Beira to Tete, and then on to Zambia and Malawi.

Long distance truck drivers had demanded an end to the convoy system immediately Dhlakama declared the truce. One driver, Ferrao Anacleto, said it now took him just one day to make the trip from Beira and Malawi. When he had to queue up to join a convoy the trip had taken two, or even three days.