The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services with assistance from the International Organisation for Migration (I.O.M) has embarked on the repatriation of Ethiopian nationals who were being kept in various prison facilities in Malawi.
The exercise was commended on Wednesday, August 10th, 2022.
According to Public Relations Officer for the Immigration Department in the Central Region, Pasqually Zulu, the initiative is aimed at decongesting the prisons in Malawi.
He said the repatriation exercise which was supposed to be done a few months ago was delayed due to other logistical challenges which include air tickets purchase, processing of travel documents and other medical tests including Covid-19 before departure.
Zulu said the process is a relief to the Government of Malawi as it will reduce the number of people in its prisons whilst at the same time creating a step towards enhancement of social-economic development of the country as it spends a lot of money on their welfare.
The first cohort of 112 Ethiopians left Malawi on Wednesday with the second group leaving on Thursday through the Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
“You might wish to note that the 112 are all minors who were being held at Kachere Young Offenders prison in Lilongwe,” Zulu said.
Reports indicate another group of 169 Ethiopians who are being held at Karonga Transit Shelter is also scheduled to be repatriated on Tuesday, 16 August 2022.
The excise is still ongoing as more Ethiopian nationals are still in custody at Maula Prison waiting to be repatriated to their country.
“Aiding and abetting illegal immigrants by some Malawians remain a challenge to our department and we warn those involved that if caught, they will face the long arm of the law,” Zulu added.
Currently, over 350 Ethiopians remain in various prison facilities in Malawi awaiting repatriation to their home country.
Malawi is still being used as a transit route for illegal immigrants on their way to South Africa.