Dzaleka (Malawi) : four Burundian refugees detained on suspicion of organizing a demonstration

Dzaleka (Malawi) : four Burundian refugees detained on suspicion of organizing a demonstration

Men, Burundian refugees, were arrested by the police last Thursday. They are suspected of organizing demonstrations within the Dzaleka camp. They deny these accusations. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

They were taking drinks in a bar located in the Zomba area of ​​Dzaleka camp at the time of their arrest. They were arrested, accused of organizing a demonstration.

“They were chatting easily over a drink. Their discussions revolved around the poor quality of service offered in the camp’s health centers. They came to say out loud that refugees should protest against this situation, but it was under the influence of alcohol. The police appeared and led them to the dungeon”, explains a witness, who was having a drink at the same bar.

“The police would have been alerted by someone who was in this bistro, perhaps a policeman dressed in civilian clothes”, he adds.

The suspects are being prosecuted for “attempting to organize demonstrations at the camp and disturbing public order”, police told families of the suspects last Friday.

“It is not normal for people to be arrested for mere suspicion. There is no hard evidence. We ask that they be released”, claim refugees.

In October 2022, refugees marched in this camp to protest against the repetitive reduction of their food ration. Barricades had been erected in the streets and aid workers’ vehicles damaged. Since then, the police have been working to stifle any protest movement.

Thus, any unauthorized gathering is banned. Refugees even denounce a violation of the right to free movement, as long as the camp remains subject to a curfew which begins at 6 p.m.

Dzaleka camp is located in Dowa district not far from the capital Lilongwe. It has more than 50,000 refugees, including more than 11,000 Burundians.

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