Mozambique Will Avoid Return to Civil War, Ex-President Says

  • ‘Annoying’ attacks on civilian targets may continue: Chissano
  • Government, Renamo agree on international mediators in talks

Mozambique will avoid returning to a full-blown civil war even as it still faces tensions that may result in occasional political volatility, former President Joaquim Chissano said.

“There may be instability such as an attack on a bus,” Chissano, who was president from 1986 to 2005, told reporters at a conference in Cascais, Portugal. “These are annoying things, but a return to war will never happen again.”

Long considered to be a success story since a 16-year-old war ended in 1992 and the discovery of one of the world’s biggest gas fields, the country is now struggling with a debt crisis and rising tensions between the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique and the main opposition Renamo party. The two parties agreed earlier this month to include international mediators in negotiations to end violence that has killed hundreds of people since 2013.

Two months ago, Chissano said the government had the right to use military force against Renamo because of the organization’s continued attacks on civilians and its use of armed struggle as a political weapon, the state-run Noticias newspaper reported on April 8.

“Both sides have learned from the 16-year war,” Chissano, a member of the Frelimo party, said Tuesday. “The members of Renamo that are leading the party aren’t the same as those 16 years ago. There is a change of mentality.”’

Renamo has been led by Afonso Dhlakama, 63, since 1979.

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