Mozambican defence forces kill opposition rebel leader Mariano Nhongo in combat

Mozambican Defence and Security Forces (FDS) on Monday killed Mariano Nhongo who was the leader of a rebel faction and main opposition party – Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo).

FDS announced the news on Monday, saying Nhongo was killed alongside one of his collaborators, Ngau Kama, in a combat in Sofala Province after intense fighting in the forests where he was hiding.

Mariano Nhongo

Nhongo, a hardline leader, had resisted laying down arms despite local and international efforts to demilitarise Mozambique.

Just last week, President Filipe Nyusi said that FDS had reached out to Renamo to seek Nhongo’s surrender.

Renamo had fought a 16-year war against the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) party until 1992, then became the country’s main opposition party.

However, it still retains armed fighters.

Since 1992, there have been three peace accords between Frelimo and Renamo. All failed to be fully implemented, with the most recent being signed in August 2019.

Nhongo and his men opted out of Renamo after Ossufo Momade was elected its president.

Nhongo was accused of being behind small attacks against the population in central Sofala and Manica provinces that have claimed 30 lives.

Before his death, he declined to meet with Renamo’s leadership for talks.

He also repeatedly asked President Nyusi to sign a new peace agreement, terming the one inked with Momade in August 2019 as ineffective.

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