Police committed to providing security to asylum seekers

The Malawi Police Service (MPS) says it is committed in protecting asylum seekers in Malawi.

Deputy Police Inspector General responsible for operations, Demester Chigwenembe made the sentiments at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district during a visit aimed at appreciating security issues within the camp.

He said Malawi Police Service appreciates roles and responsibilities being played by various stakeholders within Dzaleka Refugee Camp aiming at improving the well-being of asylum seekers.

“Malawi Police Service is committed to protect asylum seekers and take care of them in terms of providing security to them apart from United Nations High Commissions for Refugees (UNHCR) which provides other necessities,” he said.

Chigwenembe, however, bemoaned the increase in new asylum seekers within Dzaleka Refugee Camp which he said can increase further spread of Corona Virus as they do not undergo Covid-19 test as they use uncharted routes.

He further said Malawi Police Service will increase the number of police officers manning Dzaleka Police Listening Unit for the security of asylum seekers in the camp.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp Manager, Hilary Namankhwa said the visit of Chigwenembe, will help to enhance security among asylum seekers in the Camp.

However, Namankhwa said Dzaleka Refugee Camp is facing some challenges such as space in schools and unbalanced teachers against pupil ratio in schools, congestion in plot spaces.

On her part, Commissioner of Police responsible for Central East Region Arlene Baluwa said the region is working tirelessly with Dowa Police Station in making sure that asylum seekers are protected from all forms of abuse and that their lives and properties are protected.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp was established in December 1994 with a population of about 1, 200 asylum seekers mainly from Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda and the current population is 48, 824 asylum seekers, with Congolese, Burundians and Rwandans as majority despite that Dzaleka Refugee Camp was established to host around 10, 000 to 12, 000 asylum seekers.

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