Over 1,900 refugees returned to Dzaleka camp

* Initially our intelligence operations established 2,002 refugees in various locations of which only 1,924 have been relocated

* We believe we will be able to identify and relocate the remaining others with help from Malawians

By Prince Justice Banda & Fatsani Mlongoti, MANA

The on-going repatriation of refugees and other asylum seekers from various locations across the country to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa, has so far managed to relocate at least 1,900 refugees.


Malawi Police, through its Deputy Inspector General responsible for Administration, Happy Mkandawire, disclosed this on Wednesday to Parliamentary Committee on Defence & Security, saying: “Initially our intelligence operations established 2,002 refugees in various locations of which only 1,924 have been relocated.

“We believe we will be able to identify and relocate the remaining others with help from Malawians who harbour refugees in various locations as the operation is ongoing.”

Mkandawire emphasized that the Police have managed to seize 108 shipment containers which they suspect that they contain illicit things which belong to the refugees who have been already relocated and others whose where about is yet to be established.

“We initially established a total of 125 containers in various locations but as of June 15, 2023, we managed to seize 108 containers in which we suspect contains some illegal items such guns, machines for duping currency as well as huge sums of cash both in local and foreign currencies.

“The sad reality on the seized containers is that they are heavily locked and the owners are nowhere to be seen as no one amongst the refugees has come forth to claim ownership of the same.”

Chairperson Ralph Jooma

The Parliamentary Committee’s chairperson, Ralph Jooma said he was impressed with the job done by the police and saluted them — citing that the operation would ensure a step ahead in the dire needed national security.

“It has been established that some refugees and other asylum seekers had the audacity to dupe the Immigration Department and earn local names, a situation which would threaten national security,” he said. “So with what the police have so far achieved through this relocation exercise, national security would no longer be an issue of concern.”


Meanwhile, Minister of Homeland  Security, Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma has called for support from the local and  international community in order to provide a conducive environment for refugees in the country.

Ng’oma made the call on Monday ahead of this year’s World Refugee Day commemorations, saying the Malawi Government remains committed  to host and support refugees and asylum seekers.

Ng’oma further said government has plans to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are documented and included in the national agenda, saying so far about 1,955 refugees and asylum seekers have returned to Dzaleka.

“Malawi as a signatory to the UN Conventions opened its borders to people seeking asylum and has been a home and hope to refugees majority of whom are from the Great Lakes Region for decades,” he said.

“The peace and tranquility that prevails in Malawi,,coupled with the warm heartedness of its people, has always given hope to asylum seekers evidenced by the coexistence of the two communities for years.

Zikhale Ng’oma during the press briefing

“Therefore, the Government of Malawi reaffirms its commitment to host refugees and  asylum seekers,” he said while commending the Malawi Police Service, the Immigration Department, the Department for Refugees, the Malawi Prison Service and other concerned stakeholders that have played a role in ensuring that the relocation exercise is done professionally and within the Law.

He has since applauded the citizenry for the patriotism and cooperation for not interfering with the relocation exercise and also thanked UNHCR  and other partners for the support rendered in the management of the refugee camp.

The World Refugee Day Commemoration falls on June 20 every year and this year the day is being commemorated under the theme: ‘Hope away from Home’.—Additional reporting by Maravi Express

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