Mwanza refugees’ status awaits Maputo decision
The governments of Malawi and Mozambique are yet to agree on how they should treat the Mozambican refugees that are flocking into Kapise Camp in Mwanza.
Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security Beston Chisamile told The Daily Times last week that Lilongwe had plans to relocate the refugees to Luwani Refugee Camp.
He however said Maputo want them returned to Mozambique.
“We met with the Mozambican High Commissioner recently where the Government of Malawi made its position clear to have the refugees relocated to Luwani. But their position is to have the refugees go back home. We can’t move them to Luwani when they want them to return home,” said Chisamile.
He further said the status of the refugees will be known when the Mozambican High Commissioner returns to Malawi from Mozambique where he has gone to enquire from Maputo on how they should treat the situation.
“The modality of returning the refugees will be made by the Mozambican Government. There are no datelines on when the refugees will be repatriated. We are waiting to hear from the Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister on the decision that Maputo makes. The decision of relocating the refugees to another place will have to be made by the two governments not Lilongwe alone,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from the Mozambican Consulate in Malawi.
On our visit to the Kapise camp last week, we found the population of the refuges at the camp has risen to 6,000 from around 2,000 a few weeks ago.
Field Coordinator for Emergency at Medicins Sans Frontieres, Whitney Ward, admitted that the situation at the camp is dire and requires urgent attention.
“The population at this camp has doubled in the last three weeks from 3,000 to 6,000. There is severe overcrowding. The camp is unable to meet the minimum standards required for displaced people and refugees,” said Ward.
One of the refugees who identified himself as Philipao said the situation in Tete is volatile as Mozambique government’s Frelimo forces are exacting brutality by torching houses and killing civilians on suspicion that they are shielding Renamo soldiers.
“They are killing people because we voted for opposition Renamo leader Alfonso Dhlakama. They are suspecting Tete remains loyal to Dhlakama and the civilians are shielding the Renamo fighters,” said Philipao.
The conflict has resulted from Dhlakama’s refusal to accept the results of the polls which took place in the country in 2014 which saw Frelimo’s Filipe Nyusi becoming victorious.
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