On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs, represented by spokesperson Patrick Botha, gathered 920 refugees from diverse communities and relocated them to a camp in a district adjacent to the capital city of Lilongwe.
After the government’s ultimatum, which demanded the return of all refugees to the Dzaleka refugee camp by April 15 or faces compulsory relocation, the operation commenced on May 17 to implement the necessary measures.
Accusing the refugees of disregarding proper procedures and leaving the overcrowded camp, the government initiated the round-up operation in Lilongwe and subsequently expanded it to encompass other districts.
As stated by the UNHCR, the refugee camp, initially intended to accommodate a maximum of 12,000 individuals, had exceeded its capacity by Monday. The camp currently shelters over 50,600 refugees, predominantly originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda.
While recognizing the issue of overcrowding in the camp, Botha refuted allegations of refugee rights violations, emphasizing that Malawi was not engaged in any mistreatment of the refugees.