Security clearance of refugees reduced to two weeks

22 Jun 2015 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 22 JUN (NAMPA) - Security clearance for the repatriation of Namibians residing at the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana will now take two weeks instead of four months.
Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and other security agencies involved in the clearance of the applications to ensure that the security clearance exercise is reduced from the four months it previously took to two weeks in order to help speed up the repatriation process.
This was announced by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya at a Cabinet briefing held here on Monday morning.
The minister told members of the media Cabinet took the decision recently after it extensively deliberated on a report and related briefings of meetings by the Extra-Ordinary Tripartite Commission on the cessation of the refugee status of over 900 Namibians residing at Dukwe camp in Botswana.
On the same issue, Cabinet further decided that all immigration procedures and other related works in respect of the returnees from Dukwe, henceforth be conducted at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region.
Namibian refugees in Botswana have been given until 31 December this year to voluntarily leave that country.
Earlier reports carried by local daily, Namibian Sun, had it that Ross Sanoto, Botswana’s Director of Refugees in the Ministry of Justice said “Namibia is a safe place and there is no reason for Namibian citizens to continue living in exile.”
Sanoto further said the Botswana Government is currently engaging its Namibian counterparts and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as part of this repatriation process.
The Dukwe refugee camp is situated in northeastern Botswana. The Namibians have lived there for over 15 years, following the failed secessionist attacks to secede the then Caprivi Region (now Zambezi Region) from the rest of the country (Namibia) in August 1999.
The camp hosts refugees and asylum-seekers from Angola, Namibia, Somalia, Zimbabwe and the Great Lakes Region.
In 2014, Namibia welcomed four families back after years at Dukwe.
Initially, 16 people were expected to return to Namibia, but the others failed to return for various reasons.