Opposition negotiator shot dead on beach in Mozambique

The killing of the opposition movement official comes just days before opposition figures were set to hold a meeting with the government aimed at resuming a stalled peace process.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The shooting of Jeremias Pondeca came on the eve of the resumption of stalled negotiations.

A member of Mozambique’s main opposition movement and a delegate in ongoing political negotiations with the government was assassinated on a beach in the country's capital Maputo, the party's national spokesperson said on Monday.  

The shooting of Jeremias Pondeca came days before the Joint Commission scheduled to resume political dialogue between the government and Renamo on Monday. The talks had been suspended on September 30 to allow the two sides to review their methodology to reach a consensus immediately.

The representative of the Italian Government for the international mediating team said after the last meeting that "when we resume the discussion, on 10 October, it could be more constructive and rapid."

Unidentified gunmen shot Pondeca earlier on Saturday as he was jogging at Maputo's Costa do Sol beach, Renamo spokesman Antonio Muchanga was quoted as saying by state news agency AIM.

The government and the opposition returned to peace talks in August 2015 with the attendance of a mediating team.

Mozambique is still struggling to find peace after the end of a 16-year civil war that resulted in the deaths of over a million people.

In 1992 a peace agreement which was signed in Rome ended the war and led to a general election in which Renamo came second. However its armed wing refused to disarm due to fears that the ruling party, Frelimo, could break its promises.

The peace deal held until 2013 when Renamo announced that it was pulling out of the deal after the Mozambique Army seized a base belonging its leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

The two sides returned to peace talks in August 2015 with the attendance of a mediating team.

The Joint commission was set to prepare a face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama but it has not yet managed to bring the two sides together. Dhlakama said he had no interest in meeting with Nyusi before signing a final peace agreement.

The commission failed to reach a definitive agreement on any of the matters on its agenda, including Renamo's demand to take power in six provinces and the inclusion of its militia in the army and police.

TRTWorld and agencies