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Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi on Thursday challenged army officers appointed by Renamo as part of the peace negotiations to use their experience in combating armed groups that have attacked Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.
“The affront to the Mozambican state by the group of malefactors in some districts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado is an immediate challenge and should merit the prompt and effective response of the FADM with your individual involvement,” President Nyusi said.
Filipe Nyusi was speaking during the ceremony to promote officials indicated by the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) in the Mozambican Armed Forces, as part of the consensus reached at the peace talks on the demilitarisation of the largest opposition party’s armed wing.
The Mozambican head of state was talking about attacks by armed groups in remote villages in the province of Cabo Delgado, located between 1,500 and 2,000 kilometres north of Maputo, since October 2017, causing an undetermined number of casualties and displacements.
The groups that have attacked the villages have never made their motivation known, but investigators suggest that the violence is linked to heroin, ivory, rubies and wood trafficking networks.
For the Mozambican head of state, it is now up to the FADM to defend the independence, sovereignty and integrity of the state, at a time when threats call for greater union among Mozambicans.
The president also stressed that the promoted officials should use their experience to ensure peace and stability in the country in an environment of unity and respect for the nation, values that are included in the understandings between the Government and Renamo.
“Today we are witnessing again FADM as a laboratory for the preservation of peace, cohesion and reconciliation between Mozambicans,” the Mozambican head of state said, noting that these officers were already serving the country inside the army.
Among the promoted officers are Colonels Xavier António and Araújo Anderiro Maciacona, promoted to the post of brigadier and Sea-captain Inácio Luís Vaz, promoted to the post of commodore.
In total, 18 officers were promoted, including majors, lieutenants-colonels, colonels and brigadiers. The event was attended by notables including government officials and former mediators of a negotiation process between the government and Renamo.
Colonel Arone Alberto Nema, who was promoted yesterday, told Lusa that the challenges were diverse, from the defence of the motherland to the preservation of peace in the country.
“I’ve been waiting for this patent for a long time. I was captain for 25 years, but I knew that I would be promoted to a patent that suited me,” the colonel said, adding that peace has come to stay.
On 6 June, the Mozambican President announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the government and Renamo on the demilitarisation and integration of the main opposition party forces in the army and police.
The Mozambican head of state did not elaborate on the content of the document, but said that it is a “decisive” instrument in the peace talks with the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who died on May 3 due to health complications .
The current negotiating process between the Mozambican government and Renamo started a year ago, when Filipe Nyusi went to Gorongosa, central Mozambique, for a meeting with Dhlakama on August 6 of last year.
In addition to the disarmament and integration of the men of the armed wing of the largest opposition party in the armed forces, the negotiating agenda between the two sides involved decentralisation of power, a point that was addressed by the revision of the constitution in July.