WINDHOEK - The Namibian government has made a U-turn to temporarily host at Osire refugee camp the desperate migrants who fled South Africa last month following a wave of xenophobic attacks.
This comes after New Era on Friday published an article that the Namibian government has turned away the desperate refugees because they are not recognised as asylum seekers.
Home Affairs Commissioner for Refugees Likius Valombola told New Era on Thursday that the 42 foreign nationals were being deported back to South Africa.
However, on Friday minister Frans Kapofi said the government has decided to take in the refugees, who initially faced deportation, to be temporarily kept at Osire refuge camp while they profile them to determine who is really in need of shelter.
The disparate group was initially 53, but 11 of them have since been taken back to South Africa, while the remaining 42 will be taken to Osire.
Kapofi said these people crossed illegally into Namibia as per international refugee procedures. He revealed that the government is experiencing people who force themselves into the country at whatever cost.
“We have a situation whereby some of the people we host here as refugees are involved in activities that are not in accordance with their status or the expectations we have of them. We had a refugee who was caught stealing medicine in Engela hospital. We want to admit those who are really in need, but not those who want to impose themselves on us. We are not anti-refugee. We are not anti-asylum seekers. We are human beings. We understand when people have problems, but we don’t want to be forced to take action by people who don’t want to abide by our laws,” he cautioned.
He explained that these people are taking advantage of the shallow Orange River to cross into Namibia illegally.
Further, Kapofi said he was informed by his South African counterpart that the group initially wanted to be granted permission by that country to go to Canada.
However, he said he was informed that the South African government denied them that chance because they wanted to go in a large number.
Kapofi maintained that these people illegally crossed into Namibia through the southern border post of Noordoewer.
“You do not invade the country. You seek permission to come to a country. They are dropped off by trucks.
We made efforts to search these trucks. We spoke to the truck owners that this is tantamount to human trafficking. Currently, we have people that are in Katima Mulilo who crossed through Botswana and Zambia but were initially admitted as refugees in South Africa. These people have enough time to think on how to defeat justice. We don’t seem to think these people’s lives are in danger because the South Africa government has made efforts to address this issue,” Kapofi reacted.
2019-12-16 10:23:19 | 9 months ago