2016-03-16 07:39:00

UN agency hails Malawi for Mozambique refugee camp

(Vatican Radio) The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has welcomed a decision by Malawi to reopen a former refugee camp to help cope with the rising numbers of people fleeing a conflict in Mozambique.

Listen to Peter Kenny's report from the UN in Geneva

The UNHCR says that close to 10,000 refugees have now been registered in southern Malawi since mid-December and there are nearly 12,000 Mozambican refugees in the whole country.

Most of the new arrivals, who have been crossing to Malawi since mid-December, are in a single village, Kapise, about 100 kilometres south of Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, Leo Dobbs, UNHCR spokesperson told journalists.  

“Arrival rates have been rising in the past month from about  130 people a day before late February AND we are now seeing around 250 people every day in Kapise. Earlier this year the refugees we talked to said they were fleeing violence in their villages – and more recent arrivals have said they are fleeing for preventative reasons fearing imminent clashes between government forces and RENAMO, the main opposition group, which says it wishes to take control of six northern provinces in the north of Mozambique.”.

Renamo was in a 16-year civil war against the ruling party Frelimo which ended in 1992. It says it won control of the northern provinces in the October 2015 general elections, which the government says is not true.

Dobbs noted that Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world but it is showing an example by taking in refugees.

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