Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security Samuel Madula has said the ministry has rescinded its plans to transfer refugees from Dzaleka in Dowa to Katili in Karonga until further notice.
He said government is carrying out assessment of the suitability of the new location to house refugees.
Madula said this when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament in Lilongwe this week.
“Currently we are not relocating the refugees to Katili because of some problems our assessment have uncovered, for instance, the place doesn’t have enough water and there in no enough arable land for farming, so we are not moving them until further notice,” he told the committee.
Government officially announced its plans to relocate Dzaleka Refugee Camp from Dowa to Karonga in the Northern part of Malawi last year in May.
Concerned people from Karonga have been protesting the decision citing security concerns to their lives and businesses saying most of the people in the refugee camps are ex-soldiers, would be terrorists and dangerous criminals.
Talks have been taking place concerning the issue which saw the Minister of Home Affairs Grace Chiumia interacting with Karonga residents led by Karonga-Chitipa Heritage as well as Karonga Youth for Justice and Development (KYJD) who blocked the idea.
Member of Parliament for Karonga Central Frank Mwenefumbo has been in the forefront alerting government of the concerns of the people from his district.
The decision to move the camp from Dowa to Karonga was arrived due to what the ministry said was security concerns as the camp is closer to the capital city.
Over 27 000 refugees were expected to be transferred from Dzaleka to Katili which lies north west of Karonga, about 15 kilometres away from the boma.