The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has embarked on the repatriation of Ethiopian nationals who were being kept in various prison facilities in Malawi.
The repatriation takes place on Wednesday and Thursday with the aim of trying to decongest the country's prisons.
Inspector Pasqually Zulu, Regional Immigration Public Relations Officer for the Centre said the repatriation excise was supposed to be done two months ago but was delayed due to other logistical challenges such as air ticket purchases, processing of travel documents and other medical tests such as COVID-19 prior to departure.
"The development is a huge relief to the Government Malawi as it will reduce the numbers of people in our prisons while at the same time it will create a step towards enhancement of social economic development of the country," he said.
Zulu disclosed the first cohort comprises a total of 112 Ethiopians; Wednesday sees 58 Ethiopians depart Malawi while on Thursday 53 Ethiopians will depart Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
"Of the total number of 112 they are all minors and were being held at Kachere Young Offenders prison in Lilongwe
"Another batch comprising of 169 Ethiopians who are being held at Karonga Transit Shelter is scheduled to repatriated out of Malawi this coming Tuesday August 16th, 2022," Zulu said.
The exercise is still on going as more Ethiopians nationals are still in custody at Maula prison pending to be repatriated back home.
Malawi has over 350 Ethiopians at various prison facilities as it is still used as a transit route for irregular migrants on their way to South Africa.
Zulu explained that aiding and abetting of these irregular migrants by unpatriotic Malawians remains a challenge to the Department.