They fled guns and civil war in their countries, but probably, one thing they might have forgotten was to sheathe their daggers as they were coming to seek refuge in Malawi.
Weekend Nation understands that refugees and asylum seekers at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa are living in constant fear following an upsurge in murders and serial attacks at the camp.
The camp has registered two gruesome murders over the past two months. The third victim, a 47-year-old Rwandan national Bavumiragira Deogratias, escaped death by a whisker last Sunday.
He is currently admitted to Francisco Palau Community Hospital (popularly known as Mtengowanthenga Mission Hospital) in Dowa.
Deogratias was attacked while sleeping in his hut.
“The killers broke into his house at around midnight. They tied and strangled him,” explained a young brother to the victim, Ndayambashi Muhammad.
Muhammad disclosed that the first murder happened in January 2017 involving a Rwandan woman, followed by the murder of a boy a few weeks later.
“My brother would have been the third one to die through the serial attacks. In fact, we were told that he had died. He was confirmed dead by Dzaleka Health Centre.
“We just came here for embalming before burial,” he said.
When Weekend Nation visited Deogratias at his hospital bed yesterday, he was still unable to talk, sit or stand.
“But what surprises us is that the police are not making arrests in connection with these crimes. We are living dangerously in the camp now because you never know who may harm you at night. And with no security being provided, fear and anxiety has gripped the camp,” Muhammad said.
Dowa Police Station public relations officer Richard Kaponda confirmed the two murders at the camp.
Demarcations, intensity of crimes
Dzaleka Refugee Camp is demarcated into six locations namely Blantyre, Kawale, Katupya, Likuni, Lisungwi and Zomba.
Some of the interviewed refugees and asylum seekers told Weekend Nation that Blantyre is the most notorious in criminal activities at the camp.
Vice-leader of the location, Juma Jabel, disclosed that the area is the one that registered the two murders.
“We reported all of them to the police [here at the camp], but there has been no arrests, so far. We don’t even know when they [police] will conclude their investigations,” said Jabel.
He, however, wondered why the police were taking long to investigate and bring the crimes to a stop.
“No one should cheat you that they are coming from outside. They are our fellow refugees and asylum seekers, but what baffles us is why the police are taking ages to conclude their investigations,” he said.
Muhammad, who is convinced that the attackers are from within the camp, said so far they have only targeted those whom they perceive to be successful in their business enterprises in the camp.
“There are some people in the camp who are doing nothing. These are the ones who are doing everything criminal to get what they need. But I can assure you: I will never stop until we get to the bottom of the attack on my brother,” explained Muhammad.
Another refugee, who sought anonymity, said there have been other crimes in the camp which law enforcers have failed to investigate and establish who was behind them.
Police said they are yet to get the report of Deogratias attack.
“I have to find out why Dzaleka Police Unit has not reported the matter to us,” Kaponda explained, adding that police were yet to make arrests in connection with the crimes.