Banditry forces thousands out of Mozambique
From ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of Mozambican refugees are living in dire conditions in neighbouring countries after fleeing insurgency by the opposition Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo).
Hordes of Mozambique nationals are increasingly fleeing to Zimbabwe while others are finding their way to Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.
Zimbabwe is seen as conducive because of language and culture similarities between Mozambicans and host communities.
Last week, authorities in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province received about 4 000 Mozambique refugees together with their livestock in the district of Chipinge, 170 kilometres from the border town of Mutare.
A majority are residing at Mabee refugee holding camp while others are scattered in the expansive province sharing the border with Mozambique.
Provincial minister for Manicaland, Mandi Chimene, has paid them a visit where living conditions are reported to be deplorable with poor health hygiene, food shortage and unclean drinking water.
Their presence has piled economic pressure to Zimbabwe, which is undergoing severe economic problems.
Complicating the situation, majority of refugees live in the open while others in Malawi and Tanzania are also in dire conditions.
A Mozambican refugee living in Zimbabwe, Almiro Machaíss, appealed to the United Nations and humanitarian agencies as well as government to intervene.
“We appeal for assistance with food, shelter, medicine and clothes. Our situation is pathetic,” said Machaíss.
Some Renamo hardliners have carried out the banditry in protest of the outcome of the 2014 elections the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) won amid rigging claims.
Renamo is demanding self-rule in six (of the eleven) provinces comprising Manica, Nampula, Niassa, Tete, Sofala and Zambezia where it claims it won a majority.
– CAJ News
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