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Mozambique nationals flee to Malawi

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Lazarus Chakwera

As the fight for minerals in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, rages, some Mozambique nationals have started flocking into Malawi through designated and undesignated routes.

As a result, about 17 people are being accommodated in Chiphwanya Village, Traditional Authority Nkumba, in Mangochi District after arriving a week ago.

Another group of asylum seekers is at Katuli Police Station in the lakeshore district. Both Katuli and Nkumba are situated in the east and southern parts of Mangochi District, which borders Mozambique.

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Locals told The Daily Times that Mozambicans were getting into Malawi, where they are seeking refuge, almost every day.

Some of the people are being accommodated by their relatives while those without relations are staying in public structures.

One of the asylum seekers, who identified himself as Namanya Andrewson, said he, wife, eight children and seven grandchildren fled into Malawi to save dear life.

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He said they walked on foot from the district of Malanga in Luchinga, Mozambique, after people he accused of being rebels killed people in a neighbouring village.

“They killed people by slaughtering them with knives. I could not stay and risk my life and my children’s. As such, I had to leave everything behind and come to Malawi to live in peace,” he said.

When they arrived in Malawi, the 17 asylum seekers sought refuge in Nkumba Hospital structures because they were stranded.

After some days, a woman identified as Siphat Faki started accommodating them in her two-bedroom house, which used to house a tenant.

The woman gave them her only bag of maize to survive on because the asylum seekers had no food and children were becoming weak due to hunger.

As of Tuesday morning, about 17 people were sharing a two-bedroom house, toilet and bathroom.

However, the Malawi Red Cross Society on Tuesday donated items such as blankets, kitchen utensils and tents to the Mozambicans.

However, the asylum seekers have no food to eat.

Andrewson said they have been surviving on maize.

“We do not have enough food to last us two days,” he said.

Currently, Mangochi District Council officials have indicated that they are working with Ministry of Homeland Security officials to have all the asylum seekers registered before deciding on where to accommodate them.

Malawi Red Cross Society Director of Disaster Management Aston Mulwafu said his organisation got a request from the council to support the asylum seekers such that they are now waiting for the council to further help the people.

Meanwhile, President Lazarus Chakwera— who is Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Chairperson— is expected to chair an extraordinary regional meeting that would review work of the Sadc Mission in Mozambique (Samim).

The mission is meant to support Mozambique combat terrorism and “acts of violent extremism” in some districts of Cabo Delgado Province.

The virtual meeting would be held on January 7 2022, some six months after those working under the Samim mission were deployed in July last year.

According to a press statement which Sadc Head of Communications Barbara Lopi has signed, Chakwera will chair the summit in his capacity as chairperson of the community.

“In accordance with the Sadc Treaty, the Sadc Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of Sadc,” the statement reads.

Prior to the Extraordinary Summit, Chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cyril Ramaphosa is set to convene an Extraordinary Sadc Organ Summit today.

Insurgents launched attacks in Cabo Delgado Province in October 2017. The province is rich in natural gases.

In June 2021, Sadc nations agreed to deploy forces to Mozambique to help it tackle the violence, which has led to the death of about 3,000 people.

Since then, the conflict has displaced thousands of people.

Sadc has 16 member states.

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