Malawi Police Recover Ammunition in Containers Confiscated From Refugees

Blantyre, Malawi — Police in Malawi have recovered ammunition and cash in steel containers searched during the forced relocation of refugees illegally staying outside a refugee camp.

Malawi police confiscated the large containers from refugees and asylum-seekers on suspicion they contained rifles, ammunition, and counterfeiting machines for criminal activities.

The Malawi government started the forced relocation of refugees to the country’s only refugee camp, Dzaleka, in May of this year.

Authorities said the relocation was in line with the government’s policy that prohibits refugees from staying outside the camp. The government also said by staying outside a designated camp, the refugees were posing a threat to national security.

Peter Kalaya, national spokesperson for the Malawi Police Service, told VOA on Tuesday that police have forcibly opened and searched 24 containers during the exercise, which started three weeks ago.

“We have actually just found five ammunition [rounds] for AK47 [rifles] with which our police dogs from K9 Unit sniffed out, and money amounting to about MK1.4 million from one of the containers,” he said.

The cash discovered is equivalent to about $1,400.

Police have arrested four people, Kalaya said, including a Malawian national who said he was sent to witness the opening of the container with ammunition by its owner, who was not present when police opened and searched it.

“We arrested three in our first and second weeks of searching the containers, for operating businesses without licenses in Malawi because they did not have appropriate documentation allowing them to be doing business in Malawi,” Kalaya said.