Immigration Department begins repatriation of illegal Ethiopian immigrants

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services this morning started repatriating illegal Ethiopian immigrants in a move aimed at decongesting Malawi’s prisons.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is providing support for the exercise that has seen Governments of Ethiopia and Malawi working together to take the illegal immigrants back to their native country.

Buses ferying illegal immigrants captured at Kamuzu International Airport on Wednesday morning

Spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services in the Central Regional, Pasqually Zulu, confirmed the development in an interview this morning, saying the long awaited repatriation excise was supposed to be done two months ago, but was delayed due to other logistical challenges, which include air tickets purchase, processing of travel documents and other medical tests (Covid-19 inclusive) prior to departure.

Zulu said the repatriation is a huge relief to the Government Malawi as it will reduce the numbers of people in prisons while, at the same time it, creating a step towards enhancement of social economic development of the country.

“The first cohort comprising a total of 112 Ethiopians will depart on Wednesday and Thursday with a total of 53 Ethiopians departing today Wednesday August 10th while the other group of 58 Ethiopians will depart Malawi tomorrow Thursday August 11th through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe. Of the total number of 112 they are all minors and were being held at Kachere Young Offenders prison in Lilongwe,” he said.

He added that another batch, comprising 169 Ethiopians who are being held at Karonga Transit Shelter, will be repatriated out of Malawi next Tuesday, August 16th, 2022.

“The excise is still on going as more Ethiopians nationals are still in custody at Maula prison pending to be repatriated back home. As of today August 10th 2022, over 350 Ethiopians are being kept at various prison facilities in Malawi,” said Zulu.

Malawi is still being used as a transit route for irregular migrants on their way to South Africa. Aiding and Abetting of these irregular migrants by unpatriotic Malawians remains a challenge to the Department, as such we are warning the perpetrators of the vice once that caught, they will face the long arm of the law, according to Zulu.

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