A ceremony at Mepica, in Cuamba district, in the northern province of Niassa on 4 May witnessed the demobilisation of 290 former guerrillas belonging to the country’s main opposition party, Renamo.
The demobilised fighters came from several districts in Niassa where Renamo had allegedly set up military bases. Yet there had been no sign of any military action by the Renamo militia from these bases for many years, and it therefore came as a surprise that there were any Renamo fighters to be demobilised in Niassa at all.
Chairing the ceremony, the Secretary of State for Niassa, Dinis Vilanculo, said that with the demobilisation the government intends to take decisive steps along the road to effective and lasting peace. “There is no longer any pretext for men to remain clutching firearms in the bush and creating a climate of fear and concern among the public”, he said.
He urged the demobilised men to immediately contact the local community leaders and ask them for land on which they can build houses and start a new life. Niassa, he said, offers agro-ecological conditions which should stimulate the former guerrillas to become involved in agricultural and livestock production.
The 290 men were demobilised under the DDR (Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration) programme agreed between the government and Renamo under the peace agreement signed in August 2019.
Paulo Chachine, a government member of the Joint Military Affairs Commission, said there is little left to do to complete the DDR, pointing out that “about 600 men are left to be demobilised, disarmed and reintegrated”.
He urged the demobilised men to “make use of the time available to build or rebuild your lives in the company of your relatives and friends”.
Renamo General Secretary Andre Majibire expressed his satisfaction at the resumption of the DDR and congratulated the government on its efforts to raise more funds so that the DDR can be successfully concluded.