Maputo — Tsangano (Mozambique), 22 Sep (AIM) - Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday congratulated the residents of Tsangano district, on the border with Malawi, for their peaceful coexistence with their Malawian neighbours.
Speaking at an election rally in this district of Tete province, he said the friendly relations between Mozambicans and Malawians constituted a lesson that could be used to discourage the xenophobia in other parts of the region, notably South Africa.
"I congratulate you for the harmonious way in which you live alongside your Malawian neighbours", declared Nyusi. "The frontiers divide us as countries. But we have a common culture. There is no reason for us to persecute each other. Let's continue to live as brothers. This is an example of healthy coexistence in the region".
He was speaking in the wake of anti-foreigner riots in South Africa which have led to hundreds of Mozambicans losing their homes. 138 of them returned to Mozambique last week.
Nyusi told the Tsangano crowd that he has been in contact with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, who promised that he will defend all citizens in South Africa, regardless of their nationality.
Both Nyusi and Ramaphosa were in Harare last weekend to attend the funeral of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. The two leaders met and Ramaphosa briefed Nyusi on what was being done to halt xenophobic attacks.
Nyusi told the crowd that the attacks on foreign citizens were the work of a small group of people and should not endanger relations between states.
"I praise and encourage the good co-existence which characterises Mozambicans. We don't want violence", he said.
Nyusi said the Tsangano experience should be replicated inside Mozambique in the country's own peace and demilitarisation process. He reaffirmed that the demobilisation and disarming of the militia of the former rebel movement Renamo is under way.
The government, he added, is waiting for the Renamo fighters to sign up for demobilisation and for integration, either into the defence and security forces, or into civilian life.
They are Mozambican citizens and there is no reason for them to remain in the bush, he stressed. "Our agreement (which he signed with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade on 6 August) is for peace and national reconciliation, and it has the support of the international community", he declared.