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Mozambique makes peace

2014-08-12 05:05

Maputo - Mozambique's battling political parties reached a peace deal on Monday that could end nearly two years of hostilities, an opposition lawmaker and state media said.

The Frelimo-led government and main opposition Renamo - a former rebel movement which has waged a low-level insurgency since 2012 - have agreed to "the cessation of clashes", according to member of parliament Ivone Soares.

The rival parties who fought a bloody 16-year war after independence which ended in 1992, agreed to integrate Renamo fighters into its national security forces, the lawmaker said.

They also agreed to give amnesty to all those involved in the latest outbreak of violence.

"The agreement was signed today [Monday]. Everything is in place for it to be discussed in parliament on Wednesday," Soares told AFP.

State news agency AIM confirmed the signing of various agreements, without giving details.

"This is not the end of our work, but an important step towards the achievement of peace, stability in our country and the well-being of our people," said Renamo delegation head Saimone Macuiana, according to AIM.

The southern African nation's assembly is now expected to create laws to ratify the reintegration deal, said Soares.

"I think this will be handled quickly since there is already consensus between the government and the opposition party."

Low-level insurgency

Renamo forces have waged a low-level insurgency since party leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to the bush in 2012, two decades after he signed a peace accord with Frelimo.

Men thought to be members of the former rebel movement have been attacking buses, tracks and cars on the main north-south highway since April last year. Government forces overran the Renamo base camp in the central Gorongosa district a few months later in August.

The status of Renamo combatants has been a sensitive topic since the 1992 Rome Peace Accords that ended the civil war which ravaged the fledgling country's economy.

Some Renamo fighters were integrated into the armed forces, but were always overlooked for promotion. The new deal includes opportunities for them to obtain rank, said Soares.

Other Renamo fighters will become part of the police force and even state security agencies, she added.

Mozambique President Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Dhlakama are expected to meet about the agreement, though a date has not been finalised.

AFP

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