Mozambique: Renamo leader comes out of hiding

Maputo - The leader of Mozambique's armed opposition party Renamo came out of hiding on Thursday in order to contest the 15 October elections.

Afonso Dhlakama left the Gorongosa Mountains in central Mozambique and flew to Maputo, where nearly 2 000 supporters welcomed him at the airport.

"My absence from Maputo was a sacrifice worth taking, because it has brought significant gains ... for the Mozambican people and the political parties," Dhlakama said in a reference to a new electoral law allowing parties to post representatives at polling stations without the threat of arrest.

Dhlakama was due to meet President Armando Guebuza in order to seal the 24 August agreement which is due to end nearly two years of low-level warfare.

Renamo waged a 16-year civil war against the Frelimo party, which has governed Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975.

A 1992 peace deal turned Renamo into the biggest opposition party, but it launched a campaign of highway ambushes and other attacks in 2012, accusing the government of excluding it from political and economic power structures.

The elections will pit Dhlakama against Felipe Nyasa, the Frelimo candidate to succeed Guebuza.

Renamo currently holds 51 seats in the 250-member parliament.