Homeland Ministry Arrests Ethiopians For Trafficking Cell

The Minister of Homeland Security has said that the government will commit to eliminate human trafficking, as police busted two Ethiopians, man and wife, for running a trafficking ring that had a holding cell at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

The minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma made these remarks during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Wednesday, where he revealed that Police and Department of Immigration officers arrested Ahmed Muhammad Kondo and his wife Deborah, for not only trafficking in humans, but also forcefully confining people in a cell.

Ng’oma said the cell which had high walls and barbed wire held 31 Ethiopia nationals at the time of the arrest on 26th March, and was located in Kawale section of the camp, thus expressing commitment to deal with the criminal enterprise and trade.

“Malawi has been on record of being used as a trafficking corridor to South Africa, United States and Australia among other destinations, with Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia and Ethiopia as the most illegal migrants using the country. We arrested 31 Ethiopians during the raid, and earlier intercepted 114 who are also suspected to have been connected to Kondo and his ring,” said Ng’oma.

He continued, “There are some others that we are in the process of apprehending, you know they have been trafficking a lot of people from Ethiopia. When we went to the premises, we discovered that there were 31 Ethiopians in the cell there, and this is why we are committed to ending this.”

According to Ng’oma, besides Muhammad Kondo who was previously deported twice in 2022 and 2023 for a similar offence, Dzaleka Refugee Camp is harboring dangerous criminals that are endangering the country’s security.

In addition, Ng’oma said, “There are cells there. You may wonder at times when you hear names of townships, and think it is our townships. However, there is Blantyre One, Blantyre Two, Kawale, Lisungwi, Likuni, different places but within Dzaleka. Worse, it is within Lilongwe, only 42 kilometers! By law, a refugee camp is not supposed to be near a town rather than it should be near the border, that is why plans are underway to move it.”

At the moment, according to the minister, the thirty-one will be deported back to their country. He further said it is not clear yet what these people are trafficked for, but what they are aware of is that the people are trafficked into the country on the pretext of a greener pasture or safe gateway to elsewhere, at the fee of 200 dollars, after which they are detained in the cell until their relatives back in Ethiopia pay a ransom. In addition, the victims can also be sold to unknown people at 1,000 dollars each.

Ethiopians are allegedly the elites of the Dzaleka Camp because they are rich, with Rwandese as middle class and those from DRC as the poor.

The minister therefore said funds are now trickling in that may allow the ministry to clear the country’s cities and neighborhoods of all illegal migrants and take them all to the proposed refugee camp in Chitipa district.

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Last modified on Thursday, 04/04/2024

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