Tuesday, July 27, 2021
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Somalis begin 3,862 km journey home from Swaziland by foot

By Wonderboy Dlamini

Following their alleged unresolved grievances against the ministry of home affairs, Somali nationals, who have been at loggerheads with government, have since resolved to return to their war-torn country by foot.

swazilandAt least seven Somali asylum seekers have recently been making headlines in local newspapers after they complained of living conditions at Malindza Refugee Camp which they termed as ‘inhuman’.

They complained of being starved and made to work in the fields situated at the camp without being given anything in return.

The Somalis were also reported to be eating grass and tree leaves as they claimed that they were not given anything to eat at the camp.

In a bid to address their situation, the Somalis also visited the ministry of home affairs to seek audience with the principal secretary in the ministry, Anthony Masilela and other officials.

Upon meeting with the PS and the officials, the Somalis are said to have asked the ministry to assist them in going back to their home country, stating that they could not take any more of the hardship they faced at the camp.

They have since resolved to go to their country and they started the over 3 862 journey to Somalia by foot last night.

They left for the Lomahasha border gate by foot.

The Somalis are said to have also made their intention to leave the country known to the administration of the camp.

Led by one Mowlid Omer Warsame, they were found already on the road at around 10:30am.

Interviewed briefly, Warsame said they had since decided to walk back to their country following the harsh living conditions they were going through at the camp.

Warsame said the living conditions were unbearable to the extent that they found it better to go and die in the warfront in their home country than in a foreign land.

He also said following their discussions with the PS in the ministry of home affairs, they were promised that their grievances would be attended to in a space of seven days.

He said, however, this did not happen as almost two months have passed without their grievances being addressed.

“At first we asked the PS to assist us in going back to our home country but he insisted that we must stay at camp as he promised to attend to our grievances within seven days.

“We were then shocked to learn through the media that the PS later said that we should find our own way out of the country if we wanted to,” he continued.

He said it was for this reason that they have then decided to walk back to their home country as they did not have any other means of transport.

He said they had now resigned themselves to go and die in their home country if not along the way.

“We are aware that it might take us years to get back home as it is too far, but we are determined to either die on the road or in our own country,” he said.

‘Those are just men on the street’

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Anthony Masilela says the Somalis who have decided to walk back to their home country are unknown to the ministry.

Masilela was responding to reports to the effect that the aggrieved Somali nationals who were accommodated at Malindza Refugee Camp have since decided to leave the country.

The Somalis walked out of the camp last night with the intention of going back to their home country.
When he was drawn for comment on the matter, Masilela said the ministry had no control over the Somalis as they were not refugees in the country.

He explained that the Somalis were only in a process of being granted the status of being refugees in the country.

“Apparently, the ministry does not have records of the said Somalis listed as refugees in the country as they were still recognised as asylum seekers. The ministry therefore, does not have control over them,” said Masilela.

Source: Swazi observer

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