If those who murdered Renamo official Jeremias Pondeca on Saturday believe that the killing will lead the rebel movement to break off its talks with the Mozambican government, they are much mistaken.

Pondeca was a member of the Council of State, a consultative body which advises the President of the Republic, and also a member of the joint commission set up between the government and Renamo to prepare a face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

Renamo made it clear here Monday that despite Pondeca’s murder, it will not abandon the Joint Commission. The Renamo national spokesperson, Antonio Muxanga, told a media conference: “This barbaric act, committed by the enemies of democracy and of the well-being of the Mozambican people, is intended to force Renamo to abandon the dialogue. But that would be very bad for the Mozambican people, since we recall that all conflicts end at the dialogue table.”

He added that it was difficult to understand how such a murder could occur in the capital city, in broad daylight, in a very public place (the Costa do Sol beach), “against a member of the Council of state and of the Joint Commission who was dedicating his energy and skills to the pacification of the country”.

“Renamo will continue the negotiations,” stressed Muchanga. “Even today, if the Joint Commission was in session, Renamo would be willing to take part in the negotiations.”

The talks were interrupted on Sept 30, and the coordinator of the international mediating team, Mario Rafaelli of Italy, said the Joint Commission would resume its work on Oct 10. But there was no session on Monday, and Raffaelli announced a further delay, to Oct 18.