Malawi works to repatriate citizens held in Zimbabwe isolation centres

Thursday May 21 2020

Locked gate.

At least 90 Malawian illegal immigrants are being held in coronavirus isolation centres in Zimbabwe. PHOTO | FILE 

KITSEPILE NYATHI
By KITSEPILE NYATHI
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At least 90 Malawian illegal immigrants are being held in coronavirus isolation centres in Zimbabwe after they were intercepted trying to cross into South Africa.

Malawi's ambassador to Zimbabwe Annie Kumwenda on Thursday said the mission was working with local authorities to ensure the immigrants go back home.

“We are processing travel documents for a group of 41 Malawians that were intercepted by security forces on their way to South Africa,” she said in an interview.

The envoy said the group of 41 Malawians would be deported alongside a group of other immigrants already held at Zimbabwe's isolation centres.

Ambassador Kumwenda was reacting to reports that 14 Malawians in transit from South Africa had gone on a hunger strike after they were put into an isolation centre in the southern city of Masvingo.

She said the Malawians had since been removed from the centre and are now housed at a local school.

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Rodgers Irimayi, a Zimbabwe government spokesperson in Masvingo, said he has been informed that the Malawians skipped only one meal.

He had earlier told a local publication that the Malawians were being held at the isolation centre because of logistical problems.

“What I understand is that they were supposed to board a bus coming from South Africa to Malawi, but it has been delayed,” Mr Irimayi said.

“So the government is now organising to provide transportation for them to their country.”

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