By Martha Kachingwe Phiri—LILONGWE
At least 1, 972 refugees and asylum seekers have as of Tuesday this week been relocated to Dzaleka Refugees Camp in Dowa in an exercise government says also wants to flush out some criminals.
Secretary for Homeland Security Ministry, Oliver Kumbambe has disclosed this before the Defence and Security Committee of Parliament in Lilongwe as authorities remain relentless on the forced relocation despite some criticisms from local and international human rights groups.
The groups claim there are some elements of human rights violations as the law enforcers are implementing the exercise; a development that prompted the Malawi Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation on the matter.
Kabambe and officials from the Malawi Police Service are updating the parliamentary committee on the strides the exercise; which rolled out in Lilongwe before spreading to other regions.
Police reveal it has located 125 locked heavy containers for foreign nationals suspected to be keeping agricultural commodities and cash; claiming these are being kept safely.
A few days ago, Homeland Security Minister, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma threatened to suspend police officers who are allegedly frustrating the relocation exercise by conniving with the refugees and asylum seekers.
“Resist corruption, do not allow bribes, bribes are killing our economy. We want disciplined, vibrant, effective and efficient police service,” said Ng’oma.
The forced relocation followed the expiry of the 15 April 2023 deadline for the refugees to voluntary return to Dzaleka Camp with government claiming they were taking jobs and economic opportunities for the locals.
Built in 1994, the camp, initially meant to accommodate 12,000 people, it is now home to more than 50,000.