Malawi Minister Expresses Concern Over Influx of Mozambican Refugees

By Owen Khamula

Minister of Home Affairs Jean Kalirani has called for quick relocation of Mozambican refugees from a tiny village in Mwanza to a fully fledged refugee camp.

Kalirani said at a news conference on Monday that a tiny village of 120 has been invaded by a swam of 11000 refugees, occupying every inch of space and cutting down trees wantonly.

“The situation is pathetic. They are cutting down every tree even fruit trees to build houses on every inch of space available. The chiefs gave them a piece of land, it is full. They have given them another piece of land, it is full too. The village cannot cope with the situation,” she said.

She said roads and bridges to the village are in bad state because of heavy trucks going to the village with relief items.

The Minister said the government failure to declare that there is war in the country is making it difficult for the refugees to get assistance from international donors.

UNHCR officials last week expressed worry that government soldiers were preventing people from escaping skirmishes between government forces Frelimo and opposition Renamo.

Refugees fleeing the skirmishes say Frelimo has deployed the military in Tete and other provinces in a bid to retake the provinces from Renamo, escalating the undeclared war.

Source: All Africa