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Namibian refugees eager to go home

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Ms Segakweng Tsiane says the governments of Botswana and Namibia are still in consultations regarding Namibian refugees in Botswana.

Ms Tsiane made the revelation during a press conference on December 19 in Gaborone where she had called journalists to brief them on the status of asylum seekers and refugees in Botswana. She noted that currently there were at least 927 Namibian refugees at the Dukwi Refugee Camp.

Ms Tsiane, who addressed the press conference with the chairperson of the Refugee Advisory Committee, Ms Dimpho Mogami, revealed that seven refugees from Namibia were recently voluntarily repatriated. She said she hoped the positive exercise would repeat itself in future.

She also noted that the “go and see and come and tell” initiative where willing refugees were escorted back home to go and see the situation before making a decision was working as most usually signed-up to go back after the trip.  

Ms Tsiane said most Namibian refugees were willing to return home except the 18 who were associated with the Caprivi cessation issue.  She added that officials from the two countries continued to discuss the issue at forums such as the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security and at SADC level.

All Namibian refugees residing at Dukwi Refugee Camp are from the former Caprivi region now renamed Zambezi region.

Ms Tsiane blamed the 18 for slowing down the intentions of those who were eager to go home and start a new life.

During the 2015 relocation exercise where at least 30 Namibian refugees were repatriated back home, the returnees were received in a colourful event by government officials who had prepared for their return. Some of their family members and friends had travelled over 200 km after seeing them on state television the previous day to meet them at a receiving centre in Katima Mulilo.

As promised, the returnees were given settlement grants by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to buy building materials and residential and ploughing fields.

They were also encouraged to register for seeds and drought relief rations in their localities. Officials from Botswana and Namibia, meanwhile, are waiting  with high hopes that the Namibian refugee situation will come to a good ending. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Benjamin Shapi

Location : GABORONE

Event : press conference

Date : Dec 21 Thu,2017

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