Harare - Over 500 Mozambican families have arrived in Zimbabwe's Manicaland province following renewed violence between the government of Mozambique and armed opposition militants, New Zimbabwe reports.
More than 20 years after the end of a decades-long civil war, sporadic fighting has again flared up between the government and fighters loyal to the opposition, forcing growing numbers of refugees to cross the border into neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The ruling party, Frelimo, has been in power since Mozambique's independence from Portugal in 1975, but the opposition, Renamo, is demanding an independent government in the north, where it has support.
Mandy Chimene, Provincial Minister for Manicaland, confirmed the development, claiming that scores of refugees had entered Zimbabwe's borders to escape an undeclared war within their home state.
"As government, we are giving necessary support to those arriving in Zimbabwe as the numbers are expected to increase," Chimene was quoted as saying.
Most of the foreign nationals are said to have moved into the country's Chipinge South constituency, where both government and non-governmental organisations are assisting with temporary shelter, food and other necessities.
Zimbabwe authorities have previously dismissed claims that Renamo is active on Zimbabwe's border, with the state-controlled Manica Post reporting that Renamo forces have been recruiting youths on the Zimbabwe side of the border.
Recruitment claims have since been denied by the Zimbabwean government.
Meanwhile, the Malawian government has urged transporters and bus operators to use the alternative Zimbabwe route to bypass Mozambique due to insecurity brought about by the continued attacks on truck drivers, with Transport Minister Malison Ndau saying that the alternate route was safer.
In addition, Mozambique has deployed its military to escort convoys of vehicles passing through militia-held areas in order to ensure the safety of foreign nationals.