Mozambique’s former president Joaquim Chissano has said efforts should continue to engage a breakaway armed faction of the opposition Renamo party after its leader was killed on Monday.
Mariano Nhongo was killed by security forces in central Sofala province.
“I never wanted anyone’s death but the people must be defended. And when the people are defended, there can be a clash with the enemy,” said Chissano, adding that there had always been room for dialogue with the rebel leader.
Nhongo was opposed to a disarmament and integration peace deal that Renamo signed with the government in 2019 and had been launching attacks against civilians and security forces.
Almost half of his 5,000 loyal fighters had accepted the deal.
Last week, as security forces intensified operations in the rebels’ bases, president Felipe Nyusi renewed his peace offer but Nhongo did not respond.
Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party fought a bitter civil war between 1976 and 1992, with renewed hostilities from 2013 to 2016.
A 2019 deal was meant to disarm and integrate the opposition forces.—BBC