After spending about 48 hours on the road, the first group of 390 Malawian survivors of xenophobic attacks arrived in the country from South Africa last night.
“We applaud the president for the prompt response to bring us home,” Yusuf Amidu said on behalf of the victims.
“But as we are speaking thousands of our relations are still stranded. Please bring them back. They are being cruelly beaten and injured, others have been brutally killed without even knowing where their corpses are,” Amidu appealed to officials who welcomed the returnees at Kamuzu Stadium.
Amidu said about seven Malawians have reportedly been murdered and 17 others were seriously injured in Durban.
The returnees looking exhausted, were screened and taken to Blantyre Social Welfare center at Kwacha where food and accommodation were provided.
They are expected to start going to their home villages this morning.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa and Atupele Muluzi of Home Affairs and Internal Security led the welcoming event.
The two ministers said President Peter Mutharika was touched with what xenophobia victims underwent in South Africa and had promised to do everything possible to bring everyone back home.
Nankhumwa also said five buses were expected to leave Durban this morning with other Malawians.
“We know this is the hardest moment in your lives that was why government quickly arranged for your repatriation,” Nankhumwa said.
“But be assured that government will do everything to ensure that the remaining Malawians are also repatriated. We will also make sure that you all reach you homes from safely,” he added.
Thousands of people from Malawi, Burundi, Zimbabwe and Congo have reportedly fled their homes in South Africa since a spate of xenophobic attacks and looting erupted two weeks ago.
Media reports said more that six people have been killed since the beginning of the month, including an Ethiopian man whose shop was petrol bombed.
Hundreds of Malawians travel to South Africa each year in search of employment.