Mozambique President Felipe Nyusi on Monday acknowledged traces of instability in his country that is forcing some citizens to seek asylum in neighbouring States, including Malawi.
The Mozambican leader said his administration is devising means to ensure a return to peace so displaced return home.that thousands of those.
Speaking after trilateral talks between leaders of Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia which lasted for about three hours at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe yesterday, Nyusi confirmed that the refugee situation was on the agenda of the meeting which had since resolved to rope in the Mozambican government.
He told journalists that President Peter Mutharika recommended that Mozambique should assist to make its citizens comfortable during their stay in Malawi, but also find ways of making them comfortable enough to return home.
However, Nyusi said the return would be voluntary as government would not forcibly remove the people from Malawi.
Thanking Malawi for accommodating refugees this time around and during the 16-year-old civil war that ended in 1992, Nyusi said his government was doing all it can for its people to return home.
He said: “We will have a joint mission of assessment to understand who the refugees are, how many are there and where they are coming from. After which we will come up with means of improving their conditions.”
Nyusi’s admission is in sharp contrast to remarks of officials from the Mozambican government that are on record as having dismissed reports of refugees crossing the border, arguing they were Malawians.
In recent months, Malawi has seen an influx of Mozambicans fleeing their country due to fighting between the governing Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and Mozambique National Resistance Movement (Renamo) militias of opposition leader Alfonso Dhlakama.
Zambia has also been affected by the refugee crisis in Mozambique as some have crossed into its territory.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has put the number of Mozambican asylum seekers in Malawi at 10 000-plus. They have since been relocated from Kapise Transit Centre in Mwanza to Luwani Refugee Camp in Neno.
Luwani camp previously hosted Mozambican refuges during the 1976 to 1992 civil war, but was closed in 2007. Malawi is also host to about 25 000 refugees and asylum seekers at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa. n