Mozambique: Govt Hoping to Bring Refugees Home

Maputo – The Mozambican government has promised to take a range of measures to restore and maintain effective peace, and to establish conditions that will allow Mozambican refugees in Malawi in return home.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said that a government delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, had visited Malawi last week.

The delegation found there were now about 5,000 Mozambican refugees in Malawi. It concluded there were two reasons for citizens fleeing from the western province of Tete into Malawi – one was the clashes between the defence and security forces and gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo, and the other was the severe drought that has struck parts of Tete.

Comoana said that Baloi’s delegation had found that minimum conditions for survival exist in the accommodation centre for the refugees set up at Kapese by the Malawian authorities.

The government, she added, will continue to work to maintain peace, and to establish living conditions that would allow the refugees to return to their areas of origin. “The government will take measures that prioritise the creation of improved basic conditions in the places where these Mozambicans come from”, she said.

She pledged that the government “will continue to undertake actions to maintain effective peace, dialogue and political and social stability”.

The government also considered the drought that is currently gripping much of southern and central Mozambique.

Comoana appealed to domestic solidarity and to bilateral partners for the funds required to provide food and drinking water to the drought affected population.

Setting an example, the members of the Council of Ministers decided to donate a day’s salary to assist the drought victims.

Comoana said the government regards the drought situation as under control, and that there is no need to launch an international emergency appeal, as has happened in the past, when Mozambican governments found that the scale of disasters was beyond the country’s internal capacity to deal with them.