Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi told reporters on Thursday that the government's defence and security forces are pulling out of positions they occupied in the central district of Gorongosa during the recent low level insurrection by the Renamo rebels.
“We have instructed the security forces to leave the posts they had occupied in Gorongosa, in defence of the communities, during the period of hostilities”, said Nyusi. “Two posts have already been abandoned and we have told our forces to leave the third, at Namadjiua, which was once practically the Renamo main base”.
The withdrawal from rural Gorongosa is the latest stage in the truce between the government forces and Renamo that has been in effect since 27 December.
Nyusi praised the working group set up between the government and Renamo that is handling military matters, and said the truce was holding. There had been no attacks except for an isolated case “where someone entered the zone of the others (i.e. Renamo) without informing them first. Nobody knows why, but we think it was a communication failure”.
Nyusi said recent events showed there was no need to call on assistance from foreign mediators or observers, when Mozambican teams could achieve positive results for themselves. Even without the presence of foreign observers “nothing strange has happened”, he said.
He revealed that the government and Renamo have now decided to set up two centres to verify the truce, one based in Maputo and the other in Gorongosa.
“The group discussing military matters suggested that we create a verification and observation structure”, said Nyusi. “We agreed that we shall have two centres, the base centre, which will operate here in Maputo, which will act in the event of any confusion or misunderstanding, and another centre in Gorongosa which will handle all concerns in the central zone of the country”.
The Maputo team consisted of four officers - two from the government (Air Force Brigadier Aguia Abdula and police Chief Superintendent Jose Machava), and two from Renamo (Col. Martinho Macambula and Lt-Col Jose Vergonha).
The team in Gorongosa will be larger. Operating out of Namadjuia, it will consist of four representatives of the government and four of Renamo. The government members have been named as Col. Borges Nortedino, Chief Superintendent Raul Uamusse. Lt-Col Zeca Cebolinha, and Viriato Tamele. Renamo has appointed Col. Joao Buca, Lt-Col. Brito Caetano, Maj. Carlos Chumbo and Capt. Augusto Martinho.
Nyusi added that the procedures and terms of reference to make the centres operational will be finalized by the group on military matters and should be presented by next week.
The truce runs out on 4 May, but Nyusi was confident it will be renewed. He said the calm that characterized the current dialogue with Renamo led him to believe that the current peaceful climate will continue.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama seems to share Nyusi's optimism. In his latest contact by telephone from his base in Gorongosa, this time to a meeting of Renamo members and supporters in Tete province, Dhlakama said the negotiations are “on the right track”.
Cited in Friday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, Dhlakama said Mozambicans have now understood that war is no good for anyone, and that they needed to unite to ensure the effective development of the country.
If all went well, Dhlakama said, he expected to announce, not another truce, but full peace and stability.