Zimbabwe detains 104 Congolese refugees who escaped camp

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A group of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been apprehended in Zimbabwe on their way to Botswana, following their escape from the country’s biggest refugee camp.

After traveling over 600 kilometers from Tongogara Refugee Camp on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, the 104 migrants were discovered in a house in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s south-western metropolis.

Authorities are now looking into how the migrants made it this far despite Zimbabwe restricting inter-city travel more than a month ago in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Paul Mavhima, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, said the administration was investigating the circumstances surrounding their escape.

“Our ministry’s opinion is that they should be at the Tongogara Refugee Camp” he said.

“For the time being, they must be processed by the police and their case assessed by Immigration officials to see whether any laws have been breached. If any laws have been breached, justice will be served.”

According to police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi, the case is still under investigation.

“What is apparent is that these are refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who were arriving at the Tongogora Refugee Camp,” he stated.

“Some of them have their papers and are currently undergoing Covid-19 screening and verification by various government agencies.”

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