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K6bn needed for new Chitipa refugee camp

The ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security has disclosed that it will use K6 billion for the construction of a new refugee camp at a place called Melo in Chitipa District.

Home Affairs Minister Atupele Muluzi revealed this in an interview with The Daily Times on Monday, saying Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa will be closed and the refugees will be transferred to Chitipa once Melo camp is completed.

He could, however, not say when the project is expected to start.

“Yes, I can confirm that the new refugee camp project in Chitipa will cost us K6 billion. That is a lot of money and we are striving to find ways of finding the funds,” Muluzi said.

The minister said government decided to transfer Dzaleka Camp to Chitipa because the district is along the country’s border which makes it easier to monitor as compared to Dowa.

Muluzi said the Department of Immigration and the Malawi Police Service will easily control the refugees, who according to the minister, are found everywhere in the country under the pretext that they are in transit to Dzaleka.

“Once we finish constructing the structures in Chitipa, stories of illegal immigrants being intercepted in some districts in the Central and Southern regions will be history as they will be confined to Chitipa,” he said.

Muluzi said despite his ministry making a funding budget for the project in its 2015/16 plan, the Ministry of Finance has not provided the funds.

“Dzaleka is not a conducive environment for us to keep refugees. These people put the country’s security at risk. Therefore, they deserve to stay closer to the country’s exit. We will try to engage private partners so that the first phase can begin immediately,” he said.

However, Chitipa Director of Planning and Development Eric Ngozo said his office has not yet received official communication on the project.

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