October 9, 2015 / 6:01 PM / 4 years ago

Mozambique's opposition leader released after being held by police in his home

Presidential Candidate Afonso Dhlakama of the Mozambican Resistance Movement (RENAMO) speaks to the media after voting in Maputo October 15, 2014. REUTERS/Grant Lee Neuenburg

MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique’s opposition party leader Afonso Dhlakama was released on Friday after being detained by security forces in his home for several hours when he emerged from hiding after a shootout that killed 23 members of his entourage last month.

A stalemate between Dhlakama’s Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party ended with a deal being signed and opposition forces surrendering a cache of weapons to police.

But on Friday morning Dhlakama’s home outside Beira was raided by security forces. Members of his security detail were arrested and residents in surrounding areas told to vacate the area, while a large military and police presence remained outside the house.

He was later freed by police after about seven hours.

“I don’t deserve this type of treatment. This is the price I am paying for trying to free my people. History will tell,” Dhlakama told crowds outside, some of whom remained after police fired rounds into the air and tear gas to disperse them.

The government gave no reason for the arrests on Friday. It said last month the shootout on Sept. 25 began when Dhlakama’s security detail opened fire on a civilian taxi. Renamo disputes that, saying Dhlakama’s motorcade was ambushed.

Renamo, waged a 16-year civil war against Frelimo which ended with a 1992 peace agreement. Tensions have resurfaced, however, in the last few years, including in the run-up to fractious national elections last October, which Renamo lost.

Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Edited by Richard Balmforth

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