GOVERNMENT through the Ministry of Home Affairs regrets the death of the seven congolese refugees who died on the 18th May, 2018 after the boat they were travelling in capsized on Lake Mweru, Luapula Province.
Speaking this Morning during a Media briefing Home Affairs Minister Hon. Stephen Kampyongo said 22 refugees survived the accident and are in Chienge at the Refugee reception Shelter awaiting relocation to the main Refugee camp in Nchelenge.
“Before they could reach Kasothe the boat capsized leading to the death of seven (7) people children and adolescents, four bodies were recovered on the 19th and 3 were retrieved on the 21st. the 22 surviving refugees are being sheltered in Chienge at the refugee reception awaiting relocation” he said
Police in Chienge recieved a report of drowning from Kasote Village. The boat was carrying suspected congolese refugess who had left Kenani Transit centre in Nchelenge to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The group travelled without informing the authorities.
He said the 7 deceased were buried yesterday in Chienge District and the burial was witnessed by the 22 survivors.
Hon. Kampyongo further noted with great regret that the refugees at Kenani camp have been deserting the transit centre without following the already established procedures like the one they used when entering.
He said the refugees should seek guidance from the relavant authorities for assisted voluntary repatriation and not filtering into neighbouring villages avoiding relocation to Mantapala settlement camp.
Furthermore, the Minister reitarated governments commitment and dedication to ensuring that the refugees are given proper structures with acceptable humen conditions such as; Schools, Health Facilities, Social and recreation facilities and proper permanent shelters.
In this regard Hon. Kampyongo announced that over 5000 asylum seekers have been relocated to Mantapala settlement camp in Nchelenge, Luapula Province
The Minister said government will ensure Mantapala camp is adquetly equiped with all amanities such as Schools, Health, social and recreation facilities.
And Hon. Kampyongo said to lessen the tension that erupts with the absence of coexistance, the Ministry has taken a intergrated approach to accomodate the refugees with the local people.
“As a government we have taken another approach which is interagrating the refugees with the local people, so that what we are putting as permanent structures is not for refugees only but also the local people can benefit aswell we want Zambians to access these facilities with no conflicts nor difficulties
the intergration approcah is meant to lessen the tension that comes with the absence of coexistance that leads to conflicts emerging” he said.
The Home Affairs Minister has since applauded the local zambian people for accepting the asylum seekers to live amongest them.
Currently Zambia has recorded slightly over 15 000 asylum seekers from the entry points in Luapula Province.
Meanwhile, The Minister appealed to Traditional leaders in the Province to not harbour refugees in the villages without information the relevant authorities mandated by government to look into the situation of refugees in the Country.
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs has intensified sensitizations programs in both camps Kenani and Mantapala for refugees on the process of returning home.
“To avoid similar calamities in the future, My Ministry has intensified its sensitization campaign among the Kenani and Mantapala Camps on the process to be undertaken for safe return if they intend to return home” he said
Hon. Kampyongo has since called on all the refugees who intend to go back home to ensure they follow the laid down procedures.
The Home Affairs Minister however, announced that the influx of asylum seekers has reduced and the set up entry points are recording one or two in day.
This indicates that some calm is returning in Congo