An estimated 4,000 Mozambicans from some parts of Moatize district in Tete province have fled to neighbouring Malawi, after fresh clashes between government forces and RENAMO rebels started in western Mozambique, more than twenty years after the end of the civil war that claimed a million lives.
The Mozambican government however has been encouraging its citizens fleeing the clashes to return home, but sporadic clashes between militias backed by RENAMO and government troops in recent months have made the situation difficult.
“When they encounter you along the way, or even in your house, they kill you. Sometimes they catch you, put you in a house and set it on fire,” says one woman who escaped from her village 5 kilometers away.
RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama recently announced that he would take power in March in half north of the country, if necessary by force.
Government forces have set up their bases in the school in her village to flush out RENAMO rebels.
But RENAMO accuses the army of committing the abuses described by the population.
“Where is the security, where is the order that these people claim to hold? This is a pure lie, they go there to be able to take revenge on the population,” says Felix Assomati, an MP and a delegate of RENAMO.
RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama recently announced that he would take power in March in the northern half of the country, if necessary by force, and now the villagers are worried about when they will return home, as they stare at impending hunger.