The number of Mozambican nationals seeking refuge in the country has risen to about 3500 as scores continue trekking into Malawi following continued tensions between Mozambican government soldiers and those from opposition Renamo.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to Malawi Monique Ekoko said as of Tuesday, 3185 refugees had been registered in Mwanza while 307 were registered in Chikwawa.
Ekoko appealed to donors and other humanitarian organisations for more funding to help the asylum seekers.
“We have been providing assistance to the refugees since July last year when they started flocking into Malawi. We appeal to donors and other humanitarian NGOs to provide the much needed support to enable us meet the demand,” she explained.
Most of the refugees are said to be coming from remote areas of Moatize district in Tete Province which is deemed to be one of the strongholds of opposition Renamo.
Reports indicate that government forces are carrying out a door to door search in these areas to flush out Renamo fighters.
Added Ekoko: “The situation is alarming, the camp at Kapise village in Mwanza is becoming too small with the ever increasing number of refugees and we are discussing with the Malawi government to consider re-opening Luwani refugee camp so that we move them there.”
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Beston Chisamile said government is yet to determine on the reopening of Luwani camp “but with more refugees coming that might be considered.”
Speaking earlier, Mwanza District Commissioner Gift Rapozo told the Nation his office together with Mozambican authorities held discussions with the refugees in Mwanza last month where they were promised safety back home, but they have refused to go back.
Luwani Camp hosted over one million Mozambican refugees who fled from their country’s 16 year civil war between 1977 and 1992.