MAPUTO Dec 27 Mozambique's Renamo opposition
party will cease all military operations against government
forces for the next seven days to allow the public to enjoy New
Year festivities, its leader Afonso Dhlakama said on Tuesday.
Rights groups estimate that dozens of people have been
killed this year in tit-for-tat attacks between Renamo fighters
and the ruling Frelimo government.
Renamo and Frelimo fought on opposing sides in a civil war
from 1976 to 1992 in which a million people died.
Mozambique is on the verge of developing huge offshore gas
reserves which could transform one of the world's poorest
countries into a middle-income state. Competition to control
this newfound wealth could stir unrest, analysts say.
"I announce the provisional cessation of military
hostilities across the country as from midnight Tuesday,"
Dhlakama, who is in hiding, told reporters by telephone.
"I took the initiative, I called the President of the
Republic, Filipe Nyusi, and gave him the possibility to offer
this provisional truce."
Mediated peace talks collapsed earlier this month but
Dhlakama said that he was willing to continue to dialogue with
Nyusi following Monday's productive telephone call.
Nyusi told reporters on Monday that he was "encouraged" by
the conversation with Dhlakama and he described the provisional
ceasefire as a "sign of hope for the whole country".
Renamo has retained a militia since the end of the war and
violence has intensified since Frelimo won a disputed election
Renamo is demanding that it control six provinces where it
won the most votes and the inclusion of its militia in the army
and police. Frelimo has said that Renamo must disarm before any
agreements can be reached.
(Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by