Refugees defy ultimatum to return to Malawi camp – Report

Refugees have defied the government’s ultimatum to return to Dzaleka Refugee Camp by April 15, according to reports monitored here on Monday.

According to the Daily Times, most refugees have not heeded an ultimatum by Malawian authorities to return to the country’s lone refugee camp by last Saturday or risk forcible eviction from their homes.

A survey by the paper in the capital Lilongwe and second city Blantyre found that it was business as usual, with most refugees still working in shops or selling wares at local markets despite the expiry of the deadline to return to the camp.

Dzaleka, which is located near Lilongwe, is home to refugees and asylum-seekers from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Somalia.

The camp was initial meant to accommodate about 10,000 refugees but now is home to more than 56,000.

This has seen most refugees leaving the camp to seek economic opportunities in local communities.

This is the second time that the more than 8,000 refugees who have settled outside the camp have ignored an order by the government to return following another deadline set for February 1.

The Ministry of Homeland Security says the Dzaleka camp has facilities that meet international standards for all refugees and asylum-seekers, including primary and secondary schools, a health centre and a public market.

Credit: African Press Agency

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