Lilongwe - 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, Nyasa Times reports.
Transport Minister Malison Ndau issued the directive following a meeting with his counterparts from the ministries of foreign affairs, trade and industry and home affairs on Wednesday.
Although the Zimbabwean route was reportedly 300km longer than the traditional route through Mozambique, Ndau claimed that the alternate route was safe.
Ndau also said that the Mozambican authorities had started military escorts for trucks and other motor vehicles to and from Mozambique.
News24 reported two days ago that Mozambique had deployed its military to escort convoys of vehicles passing through militia-held areas in order to ensure the safety of foreign nationals.
"Mozambique agreed to our proposal that our trucks which transport Malawi’s exports and imports should be guarded by the military. It is the Mozambican troops providing security," Malawian foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said.
At least five vehicles belonging to Malawians have been attacked and torched in Mozambique in the past week due to an ongoing battle between Renamo militia and Mozambique's Liberation Front (Frelimo).
Renamo was attacking civilian vehicles on the pretext that they were being used for military logistics, but the government maintained that the ambushes were aimed at destabilising the transport network.
A total of 12 cargo trucks were ambushed and set ablaze, while two drivers were killed in separate attacks last week, with militia now setting their targets on railways.