Preventing a conflict relapse in Mozambique (2013 – 2018)


Talks mediated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Government of Switzerland helped to prevent a conflict relapse in Mozambique more than two decades after the devastating civil war there had ended.

The 1992 General Peace Agreement and the contributions of the United Nations Operations in Mozambique (Opérations des Nations Unies au Mozambique, ONUMOZ) helped to usher in over two decades of peace in Mozambique. The post-conflict transition was largely successful, with economic recovery boosted by relatively generous aid imbursements and the development of considerable oil and gas resources. Furthermore, approximately 92,000 soldiers – 71,000 from the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, FRELIMO) and 21,000 of the Mozambican National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, RENAMO) had been disarmed and reintegrated into society within a few years of the Agreement.1 However, disputes over bias in the demobilisation process and the provision of pensions to former soldiers served to keep relations between the two parties tense and hindered any chance of genuine reconciliation. This was compounded by RENAMO’s failure to access political office via the ballot box, and with it, a share of the wealth and influence enjoyed by the FRELIMO administration.2 In April 2013, the RENAMO leadership declared the 1992 Agreement to be void and launched a fresh insurgency against the FRELIMO administration, mainly targeting police stations and commercially important transport routes.3 Although limited in scope, the attacks threatened to spark a renewed war in Mozambique.

Bilateral negotiations began immediately after the first attacks began and concluded in August 2015 after 114 rounds of talks between FRELIMO and RENAMO representatives. This peace process was mediated by five academic and religious figures from Mozambique who received professional support from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.4 Initial progress was made in early 2014, when sweeping electoral reforms were agreed, and in September the parties signed the Declaration on the Cessation of Military Hostilities in the capital, Maputo.5 Further talks were held in 2015, however ongoing disputes and occasional armed clashes led RENAMO leaders to formally end negotiations with the government. The renewed conflict continued to grow throughout 2016, prompting several international efforts to mediate dialogue. An initial committee failed to make much progress, but an initiative led by the Swiss government resulted in a ceasefire in early 2017. A small monitoring team was established to verify the ceasefire, and further talks helped to consolidate the peace.6 In August 2018, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding on military issues, and the following year, the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement was signed, bringing a formal end to decades-old conflict between FRELIMO and RENAMO and preventing renewed war in Mozambique.7

1 Alex Vines. “Prospects for a Sustainable Elite Bargain in Mozambique: Third Time Lucky?” Chatham House Research Paper. (2019) Available at: (Accessed 31/11/2020)

2 Ibid.

3 BBC. “‘Renamo attack’ on Mozambique’s Maringue police station.” BBC News. (2013) Available at: (Accessed 31/11/2020)

4 The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Annual Report – The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in 2015. (Geneva: HD, 2015) p.10

5 Declaração de Cessação das Hostilidades Militares, 2014. Available at: (Accessed 31/11/2020)

6 Vines. “Prospects for a Sustainable Elite Bargain in Mozambique.”

7 AP. “Mozambique Peace Accord Is Signed, Paving Way for Elections.” The New York Times. (2019) Available at: (Accessed 31/11/2020)

Start Year


End Year




UN Regional Group


Type of Conflict

Risk of a conflict relapse

Type of Initiative

Local action, Mediation of a peace agreement, Monitoring, observation, political, and verification missions

Main Implementing Organisation(s)

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Government of Switzerland, and local people and organisations




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