Mozambique’s Renamo opposition movement said on Monday it was abandoning its 1992 peace accord with the ruling Frelimo party that ended the country’s civil war, raising fears of a renewal of conflict in the budding African energy producer.
Renamo, which entered representative politics through the peace pact that terminated the brutal 1975-1992 war, said it made the
decision because of the capture on Monday by government forces of a jungle base where its leader Afonso Dhlakama was staying. Dhlakama escaped into the surrounding mountains.
“Peace is over in the country. The responsibility lies with the Frelimo government because they didn’t want to listen to Renamo’s grievances,” Renamo spokesperson Fernando Mazanga told Reuters.
Mazanga said the Renamo party, which has 51 parliamentarians in the current Frelimo-dominated national assembly, would be meeting to decide its strategy. He did not immediately spell out whether the opposition movement would take up arms again on a national level.
There was no immediate reaction from the government of President Armando Guebuza.
It earlier confirmed that government troops had taken over the Renamo base in the Gorongosa region of Sofala province, about 600 km north of the capital Maputo. This followed clashes in the area between the army and Renamo.
Renamo’s unilateral annulment of the peace accord is certain to alarm foreign donor governments and investors, who have been backing economic development in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. Big coal and offshore gas discoveries have drawn multibillion dollar investments to Mozambique.
The fighting in the thickly forested Gorongosa region between the old civil war foes occurred just a month before municipal elections that Renamo had promised to boycott and disrupt because it accuses the ruling Frelimo party of monopolizing political power.
Guebuza’s government in turn accuses Renamo of trying to destabilize Mozambique and drag it back to war. It has sent extra troops into Sofala to protect rail and road traffic against ambushes.