Mozambique: Renamo Urges Nhongo to Join Demobilisation

Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has urged Mariano Nhongo, leader of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", to join the demobilisation of the Renamo militia.

The demobilisation, disarming and reintegration into society (DDR) of Renamo's armed men resumed in June, after a hiatus of several months, but Nhongo has refused to have anything to do with it. The Junta has continued to launch sporadic attacks in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala particularly against vehicles using the main north-south highway (EN1).

Interviewed by the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", the Renamo national spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, said Nhongo nw has "a sovereign opportunity" to join the DDR process.

"We advise Mariano Nhongo to show some good sense", said Manteigas.

However, it does not seem likely that such appeals will have much success. Interviewed on Friday by the independent television station STV, Mirko Manzoni, the personal envoy to Mozambique of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and chairperson of the international Contact Group facilitating the dialogue between Renamo and the government, said that Nhongo had proved "inflexible".

As a result, all attempts to hold a dialogue with him had failed. Manzoni revealed that both President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, had reached out to Nhongo, but the Junta leader had never shown any willingness to talk.

Nhongo has continued to insist that he is the true leader of Renamo and that Momade, whom he calls "a traitor", must resign.

Last Friday, the police in Sofala province said that a unit of the Junta, led by Andre Matsangaissa Junior kidnapped and murdered, Calisto Zacarias, the director of the Marrongamisse II Primary School in Grudja, in Buzi district.

Matsangaissa is the nephew of Andre Matade Matsangaissa, whom the Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith appointed as the first leader of Renamo when they set the movement up in 1977. He has been a senior figure in the Junta since July last year.

Zacarias was kidnapped from his home in Grudja on 14 May. The police discovered his remains, no more than bones, a month later. The bones were identified as his, because the body was dumped alongside a briefcase containing his documentation.

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