MAPUTO. Mozambique’s former rebel group Renamo and the Frelimo-led government have signed a ceasefire deal, ending two years of armed conflict, ahead of a presidential election scheduled for October 15.
Chief negotiators from the government and Renamo signed the declaration late on Sunday night in the capital Maputo, ending a nearly year-long negotiation process.
“A ceasefire has been signed,” Renamo’s chief negotiator at the peace talks with the government, Saimon Macuiane, told the AFP news agency, adding that the “definitive agreement” was effective as of 20:00 GMT on Sunday.
Renamo forces have waged a low-level armed struggle since party leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to the bush in 2012, two decades after he signed a peace accord with the ruling Frelimo party.
Men thought to be members of the former rebel movement have been attacking buses, trucks 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 late night declaration came after the two sides reached a general peace agreement a week ago, including consensus over the integration of Renamo’s remaining armed forces into state security forces.
Dhlakama, who has been hiding in the remote Gorongosa mountains in central Sofala province for close to a year, did not travel to the capital to sign the ceasefire himself, despite previously promising he would do so once his party reached a final agreement with the government.