Illegal immigrants’ influx poses Ebola threat in North Malawi

Traditional leaders in Malawi’s boarder district of Karonga are appealing to government authorities to devise safety measures that would protect their subjects from contracting  Ebola virus saying Karonga is at risk of being affected with the virus due to the illegal immigrants who enter in the district.

The appeal from Senior Traditional Authority Kalonga  follows the arrest of 52 illegal immigrants  by the police on Sunday which he said poses a threat to the people of Karonga.

“The government of Malawi should do something to protect people in Karonga from the deadly Ebola virus because we always hear of illegal immigrants entering our country especially Ethiopians every week, and we don’t know their healthy status,” worried Kalonga.

Illegal lags at Karonga court on Monday.-Photo by Nyasa Times

Illegal lags at Karonga court on Monday.-Photo by Nyasa Times

He said government should also make sure that the way of repatriating these illegal immigrants is properly done because “it is very surprising that those who are arrested are the very same people.”

Karonga Police Public Relations Officer Enock Rivasion confirmed the arrest of 52 Ethiopians on Sunday at Chiwondo hills the central part of the district.

“Indeed 52 Ethiopians are in custody, we arrested them on Sunday morning following a tip from well-wishers that they were hiding in the hills of Chiwondoin the area of paramount chief Kyungu and they will answer charges of illegal entry,” said Rivasion in interview with Nyasa Times.

He said indeed something need to be done to protect people in the district and also the office of immigration should put good mechanisms of repatriating the illegal immigrants “because arrest the very same people each week which means the disposal is not properly done.”

Karonga Immigration Officer in Charge Henry Mphadzula blamed the community for not helping the Government to arrest the problem of illegal immigrates in the district.

“It is not true that we arrest the same people here in Karonga because two weeks ago police arrested over 30 Ethiopians now its 52 and last week we arrested 17 how can they be the same people in different numbers?”

He said the problem is that “the community is not helping us to make sure that we end the problem of illegal immigrants here because some of them are kept inside people’s houses in exchange of money,” said Mphadzula.

Karonga District Hospital spoke person Christopher Singini said they are just at alert of the disease but nothing is being done to prevent the disease.

District Commissioner for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo admitted that Karonga is at risk of being the first in the country to be affected due to the illegal immigrants who use unchartered routes to enter in the district.

“It’s a challenge indeed here in Karonga due to these illegal immigrates because they use unchartered routes but if we talk of those who use normal routeswe are given a machine at Songwe boarder we use for scanning,” said Moyo.

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