Refugees and asylum seekers at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa have expressed disappointment over perceived inaction by Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on growing resentment among Hutus and Tutsis.
The Dzaleka residents have since warned that the camp risks turning into a fully-fledged battlefield for Hutus and Tutsis if authorities continue paying a blind eye to murders and serial attacks at the camp.
But UNHCR country representative Monique Ekoko said her office is not aware of the growing resentment between the two tribes from the Great Lakes Region.
The camp has lately become a scene of conflicts, serial attacks and killings, particularly among Hutus and Tutsis.
“The camp is fast becoming a fully-fledged battlefield for the Hutus and Tutsis. Surprisingly, authorities have chosen to look aside while paying a blind eye to the gruesome murders and serial attacks at the camp,” said a Hutu, Ndayambashi Muhammad, in an interview.
Muhammad is a younger brother to Bavumiragira Deogratias who survived an attack from assailants that broke into his hut, strangled and tied him to his bed.
He was only resuscitated at Francisco Palau Community Hospital in Dowa District, popularly known as Mtengowanthenga Mission Hospital.
It was suspected that the attackers were linked to a Tutsi criminal gang carrying out payback attacks and killings on Hutus.
Muhammad said he has been at the camp for close to a decade. He claimed he has over the years witnessed Tutsis attacking and killing Hutus with reckless abandon.
In an earlier interview, vice leader of the Hutus at the camp, Juma Jabel, criticised the police for failing to enforce the law on suspected criminals.
Dowa Police Station spokesperson Richard Kaponda said the police have arrested some Tutsis in connection with the attacks and killings of the Hutus at the camp.
He said a case file was opened on the two murders and so far one suspect has been arrested in connection with these killings.
The duo is now remanded to Maula Prison in Lilongwe.
Two people—a woman and a boy—were arrested in connection with the killings and attacks which have largely been attributed to the age-old rivalry between Tutsis and Hutus ethnic groups, according to police.
Kaponda said two Tutsis from Burundi—Mizigiyimani, 18, and Bigirimani, 37—were nicked in connection with attacks on Deogratias.
Recently, the court failed to hear the case because of language barrier as the suspects are neither conversant with Chichewa or English, which local courts use.
Ekoko said her office has no record relating to the attacks and killings.
But a senior official in the refugee agency confirmed the existence of the rivalry. n