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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday promoted three military officers who had once been members of the rebel movement Renamo, as part of the consensus that he has reached with the current Renamo national coordinator, Ossufo Momade.
Xavier Antonio and Araujo Maciacona both rise in rank from colonel to brigadier, while navy captain Inacio Luis Vaz is promoted to commodore.
All three are officers who joined the Mozambican armed forces (FADM) when it was formed in 1994 out of a merger of volunteers from the disbanded government army, the FAM/FPLM, and Renamo.
Nyusi promoted a fourth officer, Ibraimo Abibo, from the rank of captain to that of commodore. This promotion was proposed by the Defence Ministry, and Nyusi consulted the National Defence and Security Council (CNDS).
The promotion of the former Renamo officers is part of the package that Nyusi had been negotiating with Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama prior to the latter’s sudden death from diabetes on 3 May.
Nyusi resumed the discussions with Momade, but few details have yet been made public. From the government’s perspective, the purpose of the negotiations is to demilitarise Renamo, ending the anomalous situation whereby a political party has its own militia. If the negotiations are successful, the Renamo militia will be disarmed and disbanded, and its members recruited into the FADM and the police, or reintegrated into civilian life. Renamo has also demanded the re-instatement of officers originally from Renamo whom it claims have been sidelined and marginalised within the FADM.
The CNDS met on Wednesday and issued a brief statement, concentrating particularly on the situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where an insurgency by Islamic fundamentalists has been under way since October last year, notably in Mocimboa da Praia district.
The statement praised the defence and security forces for their actions to restore order and ensure social and economic stability, and urged them “to continue implacably their operations against the criminals”.
The CNDS statement also praised the establishment of working groups, as part of the consensus achieved between Nyusi and Momade. The purpose of these groups is to ensure the disarming of members of the Renamo militia, and their subsequent inclusion in the FADM and the police, or back into Mozambican civilian society.
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