RENAMO EXTENDS TRUCE BY TWO MONTHS

Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, has announced a two-month extension of the truce which he initially declared on Dec 27.

Just as he did in December, this time too President Filipe Nyusi raised the possibility of an extension of the truce, but left it up to Dhlakama to provide details.

At a media conference here Monday, Nyusi said he had spoken by telephone with Dhlakama, who is still living in a Renamo military base in the central district of Gorongosa. Dhlakama, the president added, had taken a calm and promising stance for the interruption of hostilities.

Nyusi said the first week of the truce had been positive, with a climate of tranquility. On the first day there was vigilance in the movement of vehicles to guarantee that it was safe, he added, which shows that we should return trust to Mozambicans through dialogue.

Nyusi stressed that Mozambicans want a lasting peace, without ultimatums from either side. Certainly no clashes were reported in the first week of the truce. No vehicle or train was attacked, and it seems that the Renamo gunmen are indeed confined to their bases, as Dhlakama had promised.

In a media conference held by telephone Tuesday, Dhlakama confirmed Nyusi’s promise, and announced a 60-day extension of the truce. He added that reaching an understanding with Nyusi was an attempt to prepare the path so that the political dialogue under way between the government and Renamo will produce fruitful results.

When I announced the seven-day truce last week, I did not rule out the possibility of extending the period, if things went as desired,” said Dhlakama. He claimed there had been small incidents, supposedly caused by government forces, particularly in the Gorongosa area.

The 60-day extension will expire on March 4. Dhlakama hoped that the truce will cut the number of deaths caused by military hostilities.

From the bottom of my heart, I guarantee that Renamo fighters will not attack the positions of the defence and security forces,” he said, adding that in their phone conversation, Nyusi had also promised that the government forces will refrain from attacks. He claimed that this promise of a halt to hostilities also extends to the attacks and kidnappings of Renamo members.

Dhlakama believed that the truce will allow Mozambicans to travel freely throughout the country � particularly along those stretches of road where transport has only been possible in convoys under armed escort.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK