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Mozambique’s last rebel fighters finally lay down their arms

Posted at 4:56 AM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 07:56:39-04

GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambique’s president and the leader of the Renamo opposition have signed a peace accord to end years of hostilities that followed a 15-year civil war.

Thousands of the former rebel group’s remaining fighters are disarming just weeks before a visit by Pope Francis and a national election that will test the now-political rivals’ new resolve.

President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade shook hands and embraced after Thursday’s signing.

Fighting had flared several times in the nearly 25 years since the end of the conflict in which some 1 million people died. Renamo later became an opposition party but had never fully disarmed until now.

Pope Francis has said he is visiting next month to promote reconciliation in the southern African country. Mozambique’s presidential election follows in October.