Maputo, Mozambique | AFP |
A senior member of Mozambique’s main opposition party Renamo who was negotiating in key peace talks with the government has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen, his party said Sunday.
Jeremias Pondeca was killed on Saturday as he was out jogging. The announcement of his death came on the eve of the resumption of stalled negotiations.
The 55-year-old was a member of a joint commission established in May to find ways to end a standoff between the government and Renamo.
“Once yet again, one of our members has fallen to bullets fired by the enemies of democracy,” Renamo said in a statement, adding that Pondeca was killed on Saturday.
The European Union condemned the killing, saying in a statement: “Violence can never be an alternative to peaceful dialogue when trying to reach a sustainable solution in a political conflict.”
It urged the different parties to stay committed to the peace talks, offering its assistance “by all available means”.
Renamo, which previously waged a 16-year civil war that ended in 1992, has refused to accept the results of 2014 elections when it was beaten once more by the ruling Frelimo party, in power since the former Portuguese colony’s independence 40 years ago.
Renamo has in past few years staged a string of deadly attacks in Mozambique as it fights to make its voice heard and for a greater share of power.
The peace talks, which have been suspended for 10 days, were due to resume on Monday. The negotiations have broken down several times in the past.