Authorities in Chikwawa have expressed concern that efforts to relocate some 793 refugees are being frustrated by the Mozambicans who are not willing to move.
It is believed that the asylum seekers illegally integrated into communities in the district some weeks ago.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) admitted two weeks ago that they have been struggling to identify the Mozambicans. So far, only 10 of the initial 803 Mozambicans have been relocated to Luwani Camp in Neno
According to District Commissioner for Chikwawa, Bester Mandere, the situation is tricky because some of the Mozambicans are related to the locals in the district.
“We are really concerned. We called a meeting to bring the Mozambicans together to update them on the relocation to Luwani but only around 200 showed up. On the date we set for them to be moved, only 10 came. Since Chikwawa is close to Mozambican communities, some of these people seem reluctant to move because they are related to the Malawians”, said Mandere.
Mandere further added that there is need for verification of these people as there is a possibility that most of them are Malawians who claim to be Mozambicans so that they can benefit from the aid that comes in for asylum-seekers.
UNHCR Information and Reporting Officer, Kelvin Shimo said despite the fact that they had problems to assemble the asylum seekers, they were hopeful that more would be moved to Luwani.
“As you know, relocating is voluntary. We cannot force the people to move. We have been working with chiefs and communities across the areas where the Mozambicans have scattered. They are helping us identify the people”, said Shimo.
The relocation to Luwani is aimed at improving the conditions in which the people are living in Nsanje, Chikwawa and at Kapise Camp in Mwanza.
Last week, a relocation of about 10,000 Mozambican asylum seekers from Kapise Camp began. Meanwhile, some of the Mozambicans were reluctant to move to Luwani as they were uncertain of the future.
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