Cases of Ethiopians flocking into Malawi without valid documents are becoming a thorn in the flesh of Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services officials.
Statistics which the department has compiled indicate that, just in four months between November 2020 and March this year, a total of 134 irregular migrants from Ethiopia were found stranded in the borders of Malawi.
Central Region Immigration Department spokesperson Martin Gongolo confirmed the development, adding that, of the 134 cornered foreign immigrants, 13 were unaccompanied minors.
“We have established that the immigrants have been using Malawi as a transit route to South Africa, where they seek greener pastures.
“The majority of irregular migrants are either smuggled migrants or suspected victims of trafficking,” Gongolo said.
He said the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) had offered to assist the migrants to voluntarily return to their country of origin
The immigration spokesperson indicated that 123 immigrants would be sent back to their country in September through a chartered flight.
He added that the remaining 11 would be flown out through traditional commercial flight.
“We request IOM to assist by establishing a platform of engagement among member states impacted by irregular migration,” he said.
IOM officials have also been working with Ministry of Health officials in assessing the health of the immigrants, in line with Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation Covid preventative measures.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.