26 November 2018

Malawi: Mozambicans Back From Malawi After Peace Returns

Lilongwe — MORE than 2 000 Mozambicans that had fled to Malawi following conflict between government forces and rebel movements have returned home after tensions eased.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malawi has facilitated the returns of the refugees from the southern Luwani Refugee Camp.

Their repatriation follows the delayed conclusion of the tripartite agreement between the governments of Malawi, Mozambique and UNHCR.

Mozambican asylum seekers fled into Malawi in 2016 after a conflict erupted between the opposition Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) whose leader, the now-late Afonso Dhlakama had threatened to seize power in several provinces the opposition had a stronghold.

These are namely Manica, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia.

The deadlock triggered banditry by some militant members of the opposition RENAMO party mostly in rural areas.

Some 10 000 Mozambicans reportedly fled to neighbouring Malawi.

Malawi previously hosted over 1 million Mozambican refugees who fled from their country's civil war between 1977 and 1992.

It currently hosts some 36 205 refugees and asylum seekers. This includes some 3 000 who have fled to the Southern African country from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this year.

Humanitarian groups recently warned the refugees face imminent food shortages as relief organisations battle funding challenges.

At least US$4,2 million (R60,4 million) is required to provide food.

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