The Zimbabwean government says the number of Mozambican migrants seeking refuge in this country is continuing to rise, with 651 migrants having crossed into the country last week alone.

Since the beginning of 2016, more than 4,000 Mozambicans fleeing political unrest have crossed into neighbouring Zimbabwe where some are being accommodated at the Tongogara Refugee Camp while others have integrated with their relatives along the border, says Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira.

She told Xinhua in a telephone interview Thursday that the 651 new migrants were all staying at Tongogara Refugee Camp in southeastern Zimbabwe, which is home to another 10,000 African refugees from such countries as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Ethiopia.

The minister said that because of the rising number of Mozambican refugees, Zimbabwe had since engaged development partners, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to assist with food, clothes and other basic necessities.

The Zimbabwe office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it only offered assistance to Mozambican refugees early last year in the initial stages of the crisis before the UNHCR took over.

“Currently there is nothing that we are doing to assist. We only assisted in the initial stages when people started arriving from Mozambique before the UNHCR took over. However, we still continue to co-ordinate and if there are any gaps that need assistance we offer the help,” an IOM official said.

Mozambique has witnessed escalating tensions between the opposition Mozambican National Resistance movement (Renamo) and government forces in recent years.

A series of army operations aimed at disarming Renamo’s militias in late 2015 led to the resurfacing of political violence from the beginning of 2016, which has killed, injured and displaced Mozambicans as well as destroyed public infrastructure.