AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - 28 years after the peace accords, several areas of Mozambique are living in the anxiety of war

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 peace   jihadists   bishops  

Maputo (Agenzia Fides) - Twenty-eight years after the historic signing of the peace accords that put an end to the civil war in Mozambique, fear of war has flared up again in various areas of the Country. This was stated by His Exc. Mgr. João Carlos Hatoa Nunes, Bishop of Chimoio, according to whom "peace is still a dream in our Country ... We are still seeing some very clear signs of possible conflict, such as the attacks in the central and northern areas of the Country, and the never-ending fear of the various peoples who live in these conflict areas". "All of this shows that peace is still a dream for many Mozambicans and that we have not yet managed to unite and work together for the growth of our Country".
On October 4, 1992, the Mozambique government and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) signed the peace treaty in Rome that ended the Country's civil war that broke out immediately after independence from Portugal in 1975. The peace agreement was reached thanks to the mediation of the Roman community of Sant'Egidio, the then Archbishop of Beira, Jaime Gonçalves and the representative of the Italian government, Mario Raffaelli.
Mozambique today is confronted on the one hand with the difficulties that arise in the full implementation of the Rome accords and on the other hand with the explosion of jihadist violence in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. In 2014, Renamo had rejected the election result and took up arms again. Another provisional ceasefire was concluded in December 2016, freezing the armed conflict. On August 6, 2019, on the eve of Pope Francis' visit, President Filipe Nyusi and the leader of RENAMO Ossufo Momade had signed an agreement to end hostilities (see Fides, 7/8/2019).
Since October 2017, however, the violence of the rebels in the province of Cabo Delgado has caused more than 1,000 lives and 250,000 people have been displaced from the region.
According to the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, it is necessary to look into the deep causes of the violence in Cabo Delgado in order to guarantee peace across the Country. It is necessary for former President of the Republic to make a clear diagnosis of what is happening in the northernmost region of Mozambique, which is rich in gas and oil: Chissano doubts that the motivations of the insurgents are economic and recalls that there are many African Countries with natural resources such as gas and oil that live in peace. "The reason for this war has to be found in order to find the means to suppress it. In war you have an open opponent to fight with. But that ... is it really a war?" asks Chissano, highlighting the unknown background that caused an uprising that has already claimed numerous victims.
The former Head of State emphasizes that dialogue is the only way to solve this faceless war. "Dialogue must never be put aside. Now we have to find out who to talk to and what to talk about. We did it with the Portuguese and with RENAMO and we have to do it today". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/10/2020)