Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared in Maputo on Thursday that peace is once again threatened, this time by acts of armed violence perpetrated by terrorists and the enemies of progress.
He was speaking at the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo during celebrations of the 45th anniversary of Mozambican independence, achieved on 25 June 1975.
But while the celebrations were under way, he said, terrorists were organising acts of armed violence in some districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
At the same, time, in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala "individuals who identify with the so-called "Renamo Military Junta" are trying to roll back the fruits of peace in the framework of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation".
Nyusi signed this agreement with Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party, Renamo, on 6 August last year. The dissidents who set up the military junta, under Mariano Nhongo (who appointed himself to the rank of general), denounced Momade as "a traitor", and rejected the peace deal. For months they have been mounting ambushes against vehicles using the main roads in Manica and Sofala.
Nyusi accused the islamist terrorists in Cabo Delgado and the Renamo Military Junta of "heinous and unjustified acts which seek to cripple the gains of our independence and block our march towards economic development leading to better living conditions for our people".
He praised the efforts of the defence and security forces to protect Mozambique's national sovereignty and assured them of the full support of the government.
"Faced with the onslaughts of the enemies of our independence and of our progress, our Defence and Security Forces are continuing to give the best of themselves in the northern and central theatres of operation, and we bow before their courage and heroism", said the President.
He called on all of society "to be vigilant against the new attempts to intimidate our people through gratuitous terror and attacks against our unity as a people. We are determined to repel the terrorist aggression waged against us".
Despite the attacks by the Military Junta, the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, as agreed last August, is continuing. Nyusi revealed that, to date, over 300 former Renamo guerrillas have been demobilised and reintegrated into society.
"It is the hope of all Mozambicans that the demobilisation, disarming and reintegration will take place in an environment of great honesty, trust, seriousness and speed", he said. Despite the appeal for speed, Nyusi expects the demobilisation to take over a year. He said it should be concluded by June 2021.
According to Renamo's own figures, there are over 5,000 former guerrillas to be demobilised. This figure is almost certainly a serious exaggeration, and it is not clear whether it includes those fighters who followed Nhongo into the Military Junta.