Malawi government officials are becoming weary with the increasing number of Mozambican refugees coming into the country as they flee skirmishes between Frelimo government forces and Renamo rebels.
Mwanza district commissioner Gift Laponzo says the number of the refugees has drastically increased from 3000 a year ago to 11000 now.
“This is increasing pressure on social services as these people need food and medical care. We are working with some partners to alleviate the problems the refugees are facing as you know they live their country with little or nothing for their upkeep,” he said.
Some refugees are blaming government forces of killing men and raping women in Tete, the Renamo stronghold.
UNHCR spokeswoman, Karin de Gruijl, said:“Refugee women told a UNHCR protection officer how their homes were burned down with one elderly lady left inside to die.They say that government forces are attacking villages believed to be harboring opposition forces and opposition members.
“We have not been able, however, to confirm the accuracy of these allegations. Some parents also stated that they have been separated from their children during flights.”
De Gruijl said several U.N. aid agencies as well as the charity, Doctors Without Borders, were on hand to help the refugees with food, non-food items and medical relief.
Alfonso Dhlakama, the long time Renamo leader did not accept the presidential election results in that country last year and went back into the bush, took up arms and started fighting a guerilla war.
Malawi government is considering reopening Luwani refugee camp, which previously hosted refugees from Mozambique’s long-running civil war.That war, which was waged between 1977 and 1992, prompted more than one million Mozambicans to flee to Malawi.