Malawi chiefs push for relocation of refugee camps to northern border districts

Traditional leaders in Malawi’s northern border districts of Karonga and Chitipa are demanding government authorities to relocate Dzaleka refugee camp to boarder sites which they say are areas highly infested with immigrants.

Speaking during the meeting of 47 chiefs from the two border districts held at Karonga district council offices,  Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga said a refugee camp is not supposed to be within the city arguing this brings many challenges to the country.

“I have been a political refugee myself in three countries and I have not seen any refugee camp near cities. Always it was far in the bush about 1300km away from residential areas,” said Kyungu.

He added that apart from re-allocating the camp, they should make it more of hell not a haven as is the situation now.

A meeting of nothern region traditional  leaders
A meeting of nothern region traditional leaders

“There is milk and honey in our refugee camps which attracts these immigrants to flock into Malawi,” said Kyungu.

He further said that if the camp is reallocated to any border site 1300km away from the people the illegal immigrants will not be able to achieve their agenda if they are having hidden mission of coming in Malawi.

“Some of these illegal immigrants do big business in our city which is not good,” Kyungu said.

Karonga Sub –region Immigration Officer Richard Chidwala concurred with Kyungu saying the illegal immigrants are posing a serious health and security problem to the country.

“It is true that Dzaleka camp which is within the city attracts these people because when we ask them, they point out that they are going to Dzaleka for refuge,” said Chidwala.

He added that these immigrants reveal that they have relatives in Dzaleka who guide them on how to reach the place.

“These people have communications, they know where they are going and their major reason is to make business in Malawi and Dzaleka is just the entry point,” Chidwala noted.

He further said chiefs should sensitize their people to help end the problem saying some Malawians are taking part in aiding the illegal immigrants.

“These people are security threat to the country as many of them have military background, so you chiefs, you should take an initiative to inform your people on the dangers of keeping these immigrants to end the malpractice,” he said.

Karonga Police Officer In-Charge Foster Mangani urged Government said Karonga has for the past three months registered more than 300 illegal immigrants which he said is a threat to the country’s security.

He added that government should consider on how the illegal immigrants should be repatriated saying the process now is not a solution to solve the problem saying there is high chance that the same illegal immigrants can come back in no time.

“We just drop these illegal immigrants in Songwe River and left them to find their way home undesirable thing all together,” said Mangani.

A lot of illegal immigrants mostly from Somalia, Ethiopia and eastern African countries have been intercepted although they attempted to enter Malawi through other means other than boarder points of Malawi.

Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa pledged government’s commitment to protecting is citizens.

He called on Malawians to report through the tall free line ‘0800990997’ any suspicious person or activity in order to help the police in maintaining law and order.

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