No forced transfer for refugees – State



By Nation Reporter

NO refugees were forced to to relocate to Mayukwayukwa Refugee Settlement Centre in Kaoma and that only 54 of 150 moved there have deserted the camp, says Ministry of Home Affairs Head of public relation Moses Suwali.

He said assertions that refugees were forcibly relocated to Mayukwayukwa and Maheba Refugee Camps were false as all refugees were relocated to the two camps on voluntary basis.

Mr Suwali has, however, advised refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who left Mayukwayukwa Refugee Settlement Centre to return to the refugee camp in line with the Government of Zambia Encampment Policy.

He said the Zambian Policy only allowed refugees with appropriate documents to stay outside the refugee camp.

Mr Suwali said the 54 refugees were putting their lives in danger by leaving the refugee camp and opting to squat at a community hall in Mongu.

“Claims that they were being harassed due to inadequate security at Mayukwakwa are not true. Maybe they are trying to find a way of compelling United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle them outside the refugee camps including other countries mostly in Europe and the United States of America (USA),” said Mr. Suwali.

Over 334 refugees were recently relocated from Lusaka to Mayukwayukwa and Maheba Refugee Settlement following attacks on suspicion that they were involved in alleged ritual killings.

Mr. Suwali said that Government in collaboration with the UNHCR was doing everything possible to make the stay of the refugees in the camps comfortable.

He revealed that all the food donated to the affected refugees had been distributed to them (refugees) and had since appealed to more well-wishers to come on board and make donations towards this noble cause.

“We wish to appeal to the refugees from the DRC who have left Mayukwayukwa Refugee Settlement to return while Government and UNHCR are working round the clock to improve their welfare,” said Mr. Suwali.

He revealed that all holders of refugee cards are by law supposed to reside in camps.

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