Mozambique's opposition Renamo party has announced the "beginning of the end of war" as it extended its ceasefire indefinitely, according to the AFP news agency.

There had been increasing signs a peace deal could be near in Mozambique, as the ceasefire between long-standing civil war foes Renamo guerrillas and governing Frelimo continued to hold.

Almost a quarter century after the end of a 16-year civil war that killed a million people, violence escalated in the southern African nation, despite the international community's efforts at keeping the peace.

A peace deal held until 2013, but since the middle of 2015, conflict has simmered again after Renamo refused to accept the October 2014 election results. A ceasefire was announced on 26 December, and was later extended as warring sides participated in peace talks.

"It is not the end of the war, but it is the beginning of the end," Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama told journalists from his hideout in the centre of the country on 4 May. "This is great news for the people of Mozambique."

In October, Human Rights Watch warned of the threat that civilians could become "legitimate targets" in the conflict after Renamo ramped up attacks against a number of villages and facilities, while the government was also been accused of carrying out a number of deadly army operations since October 2015.

The press also came under threat, with journalists describing a "media hunt" as the low-level conflict took hold last year.

An estimated 15,000 Mozambican refugees fled to government-run camps or neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Mozambique is one of Africa's fastest-growing economies and the country is looking to escape years of poverty and conflict by tapping into its huge energy resources.