In Summary
  • Dukwi camp was established by the Lutheran World Federation in 1978

  • Minister quoted saying that measures were in place to facilitate the return of the Namibians
  • Botswana is one of the Africa’s most stable countries

Over 900 Namibian refugees living in Botswana have been given two months to return home, local media confirmed.

The Botswana Daily newspaper quoted the country’s Defence, Justice and Security minister, Mr Shaw Kgathi, as making the announcement.

The refugees were residing at a camp in Dukwi, on the plains of eastern Botswana, about two hours’ drive from the provincial capital of Francistown.

According to the Botswana Daily, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also favoured the camp being closed.

Dukwi camp was established by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in 1978 to accommodate refugees from what was then known as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

RACISM

At its peak, the camp hosted more than 45,000 people, mostly fleeing oppression and racism in Zimbabwe and apartheid South Africa.

There were also refugees from Namibia as well as Angola, the scene of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil conflict after the Portuguese left in 1975.

“Following the cessation of their refugee status in December 2015 and subsequently a high court case that halted their repatriation, they should go back to Namibia,” Mr Kgathi was quoted saying.

The minister was further quoted saying that measures were in place to facilitate the return of the Namibians, adding that Gaborone considered their home country stable and secure.

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