…. small scale traders wanted to do it themselves
At 4.30 am on Wednesday morning, Police accompanied by officials from the Immigration Department and Ministry of Trade started arresting foreign nationals who own small shops at Area 36 in Lilongwe.
The Police, according to our insiders had been prompted to implement the largely ignored order by Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale that had asked all refugees and asylum seekers to return to the designated refugee camps, as Malawian small-scale traders had set Tuesday as their own deadline which could have seen them start closing shops.
“Police gathered at 2 am and the first team went into Area 36 area and arrested a couple of mainly Burundi and Rwandese traders. They are being taken to Maula Prison for processing,” said a Police officer who is part of the operation.
We are still waiting for an official comment as the move has been condemned by Human Rights organisations and the United Nations in Malawi, but Government has been adamant that it was following the law.
The operation has mainly targeted people from the Great Lakes region and left tens of Asian immigrant workers who live in posh suburbs with their employers and many have no qualifying papers to be in Malawi.
It remains to be seen, whether Government will move into the main shops after the refugees are returned to Dzaleka camp.