Mozambican opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama on Thursday indefinitely extended a truce he first announced unilaterally in December between his rebel Renamo group and the government.
“Today I announce an indefinite truce. It is not the end of the war, but it is the beginning of the end,” Dhlakama, whose Renamo party is the main opposition in Mozambique, told a news conference.
“This is great news for the people of Mozambique,” he said speaking from his hideout in central Mozambique at a news conference transmitted to reporters assembled at his party headquarters in the capital Maputo.
Dhlakama had retreated in October 2015 to the central Gorongosa mountain range with 800 former fighters demanding a greater share of power.
He first declared the ceasefire in December, renewed it twice for two months in January and in March to allow for time for peace negotiations with the government.
The negotiations had taken longer than expected, he said.
In 2013 tensions resurfaced with Renamo fighters again taking up arms against the ruling Frelimo party, accusing its leaders of enriching themselves at the expense of the southern African country.
On the eve of the October 2014 general elections Renamo and the government signed a ceasefire.
But Renamo refused to accept the results of the poll when it was beaten once more at the ballot box by Frelimo, the former Marxist party, which has been in power since the former Portuguese colony’s independence 40 years ago.