Reports from government-controlled media say Mozambican villagers are fleeing into eastern Zimbabwe due to civil strife
War is said to be intensifying between the Mozambican army and Renamo rebels, with the latter’s leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, recently accusing the Frelimo government of intensifying attacks on his base in Gorongoza.
Dhlakama also claimed that President Filipe Nyusi’s government had hired “mercenaries” from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, China and Angola to flush out his soldiers.
The Manica Post reported that its investigations in Espungabeira, an area in Manica province that is some 4km from the border with Zimbabwe, had fled their homes into the western neighbour’s territory.
One displaced villager, Arimando Sithole was quoted as saying: “We are taking our important belongings to Zimbabwe because here property is not safe.”
Numbers of people fleeing the war were, however, not available.
Earlier this year, Chief Mapungwana of Chipinge in Manicaland revealed that Mozambican refugees were escaping Renamo attacks into his area and had pleaded to build temporary shelters there.
Hundreds of Mozambican civilians have also been reported to have fled into Malawi.
Renamo, according to unofficial reports, is recruiting Zimbabwean youths into its ranks, particularly young men from farming communities close to the border.
Sources in Mozambique have claimed to Nehanda Radio that a busload of Zimbabwean soldiers was recently ambushed by Renamo and an unknown number of servicemen killed.
Presidential spokesperson and information secretary, George Charamba, dismissed the claim and the Zimbabwean government has refuted allegations that it had deployed troops in Mozambique.
Dhlakama broke away from the coalition government with Frelimo in 2014 following contested election results, alleged misrule and disgruntlement over sharing of posts.
Renamo waged war against the Frelimo government between 1976 and 1992, resulting in thousands of people being displaced, with a big number trekking to Zimbabwe, which helped the Frelimo government with military reinforcements.
A fragile coalition was hammered out through majority elections but that ended when Frelimo broke away two years ago.