Mozambique’s veteran rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama, who mixed guerilla warfare with opposition politics, has died aged 65, party sources said yesterday.
Several sources in Dhlakama’s Renamo party said Dhlakama died after an unconfirmed heart attack, with local television stations also reporting the death.
For 39 years, Dhlakama led Renamo, the rebel group which fought a 16-year war against the ruling Frelimo party until 1992 and then emerged as an opposition party that still retained armed fighters.
He had been in hiding since 2013 in the remote Gorongosa mountains after sporadic conflict again erupted in the country.
But Dhlakama had recently held meetings with President Filipe Nyusi and he was seen as playing a key role in the country’s developing peace process.
In December 2016, Dhlakama announced a surprise truce with the government, which appeared to be moving towards a possible formal peace deal.
Nyusi and Dhlakama last met in February in Gorongosa to discuss disarmament and reintegration, and they appeared to have agreed on constitutional reforms that would decentralise power.
The reforms, currently under debate in parliament, will allow voters to directly elect provincial governors, who at present are appointed by the president. — AP