Immigration Department begins repatriation of illegal Ethiopian immigrants
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing assistance for the operation, which has seen the governments of Ethiopia and Malawi collaborate to return the illegal immigrants.
Malawi: The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has begun repatriating illegal Ethiopian immigrants this morning in an effort to decongest Malawi's prisons, writes Watipaso Mzungu.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing assistance for the operation, which has seen the governments of Ethiopia and Malawi collaborate to return the illegal immigrants to their home countries.
Pasqually Zulu, a spokesperson for the Central Regional Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services, confirmed the development in an interview this morning, saying the long-awaited repatriation excise was supposed to be completed two months ago but was delayed due to other logistical challenges, such as the purchase of air tickets, the processing of travel documents, and other medical tests (Covid-19 inclusive) prior to departure.
According to Zulu, the repatriation is a huge relief for the Malawian government because it will reduce the number of people in prisons while also advancing the country's social and economic development.
“The first cohort comprising a total of 112 Ethiopians will depart on Wednesday and Thursday with a total of 53 Ethiopians departing today Wednesday, August 10th while the other group of 58 Ethiopians will depart Malawi tomorrow Thursday, August 11th through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe. Of the total number of 112 they are all minors and were being held at Kachere Young Offenders prison in Lilongwe,” he said.
He also stated that another batch of 169 Ethiopians being held at the Karonga Transit Shelter will be repatriated from Malawi on Tuesday, August 16th, 2022.
“The excise is still ongoing as more Ethiopian nationals are still in custody at Maula prison pending to be repatriated back home. As of today August 10th 2022, over 350 Ethiopians are being kept at various prison facilities in Malawi,” said Zulu.
Malawi is still used as a transit point for illegal migrants en route to South Africa. Aiding and abetting these irregular migrants by unpatriotic Malawians continues to be a challenge for the Department, and as such, Zulu warns the perpetrators of the vice that if caught, they will face the long arm of the law.