Mozambique: Despite New Attack, Truce Offer Remains

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday announced that his offer of a truce to the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" remains on the table, despite an attack by Junta forces against a bus in the central province of Sofala.

Speaking in Maputo, at the opening of the 11th National Meeting of Municipalities, Nyusi said the Junta had attacked the bus at about 18.00 on Monday. Despite the attack, he still regarded the truce as in force.

"I am maintaining my position of not giving pursuit to the Military Junta, so as to allow room for contacts to be established", he said.

Nyusi announced the unilateral seven day truce on Saturday. He thought that the gunmen who attacked the bus on Monday may not have been aware of the truce.

He stressed that the government is committed to peace, and the Junta could be certain that it was a genuine offer. "I don't know any other way of acting", he said. "We want to give time and space so that contacts can be developed calmly, without noise".

But so far there is little sign that the leader of the Military Junta, Mariano Nhongo, is interested in a genuine dialogue. Speaking on the phone with the German agency DW Africa, Nhongo complained that Nyusi has not yet telephoned him personally.

Nhongo also insisted that any talks must not involve Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, whom Nhongo has repeatedly described as "a traitor". He insisted that, before any talks are held, Momade must be removed from the Renamo leadership.

This is not something that Nyusi could do, even if he wanted to, since Momade was elected President of Renamo at a Renamo Congress held in January 2019.

Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas reacted to Nhongo's demand, arguing that it was ridiculous not to recognise Momade as Renamo leader "because he was elected democratically at the Renamo Sixth Congress, standing against competitors, whom he defeated overwhelmingly".

Asked about Nhongo's demands by DW Africa, Nyusi said "there's no room for anyone to demand, 'do this, do that'". Any real demands would have to emerge from the dialogue itself.

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