Mandatory military escorts on main roads in central Mozambique have been deactivated following the truce declared by the leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Afonso Dhlakama, the Police have confirmed.
According to Mozambican police (PRM) spokesman Inácio Dina, the escorts were deactivated on December 28, the day after Afonso Dhlakama declared a one-week truce, which has now been extended for two more months.
However, reports obtained by Lusa say that the escorts continued beyond that date and that they were only deactivated in the last few days.
In the announcement of the extension of the cessation of hostilities this morning, at a telephone press conference, the Renamo leader considered that the maintenance of the escorts was “a provocation”, saying that he had spoken with the Head of State, Filipe Nyusi, to stop security measures, since “there are no more attacks”.
Following the intensification of Renamo ambushes on main roads in central Mozambique at the beginning of last year, the Defence and Security Forces set up mandatory military escorts at National Road 1 between Save and Muxúnguè and between Nhamapadza and Caia in Sofala province, and also in National Road 7 between Vanduzi (Manica) and Changara (Tete).
In the weekly assessment of police activities, the PRM spokesman said today that the extension of the truce “is an initiative that adds to what is the safety of the people”, a week after he said that the escorts would continue.
“This process is part of our work and we will continue to do what has been done,” said PRM’s spokesman on the day of the announcement of the first truce declared by the Renamo leader on 27 December.
One of the incidents that marked the first week of truce was the assassination on Thursday of a member of the provincial political commission and head of Renamo’s foreign affairs section in Nampula. The opposition party’s spokesman, at the time, related the murder to political motivations.
During today’s conference, the PRM’s spokesman said that the case is still under investigation and that it is premature to associate the Renamo member’s death to clashes resulting from the political crisis.
“When these types of crimes happen, the victims obviously have a quality or profession. This is a matter of investigation, we can not rush to make the association with the political issue,” declared Inacio Dina, who did not mention the occurrence of any incidents during the first week of truce.
In addition to the escorts, Afonso Dhlakama described some “provocations” over the past week in the Gorongosa district, where he claims to be currently staying, those of government forces that sacked and burned a market and a member of his party being assaulted and robbed at his residence. But Dhlakama did not mention the Nampula homicide.
The announcement of the extension of the agreement comes one day after the Renamo leader held a telephone conversation with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi to take stock of the weeklong truce.
Central and northern Mozambique have been plagued for more than a year by military violence, following Renamo’s refusal to accept the results of the 2014 general election, demanding to rule in six provinces where it claims victory in the polls.
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