Mmegi Online :: Zims seek refuge in Botswana
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Last Updated
Wednesday 18 September 2019, 18:15 pm.
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Zims seek refuge in Botswana

FRANCISTOWN: Zimbabweans have started fleeing to Botswana to escape the political crisis caused by the delay in announcing the results of the presidential poll in the March 29 general elections.
By Staff Writer Thu 19 Sep 2019, 00:53 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Zims seek refuge in Botswana








Reports reaching Mmegi indicate that over the weekend asylum seekers from Zimbabwe crossed the border into Botswana at an ungazetted point of entry in the Bobirwa Sub-District. The Zimbabweans entered Botswana near Bobonong, the administrative centre of Bobirwa, which lies 70km east of the copper/nickel mining town of Selebi-Phikwe.

Reports say that the Zimbabwe police and the army have intensified patrols along the border with Botswana and South Africa. However, it is understood that a good number of asylum seekers from Zimbabwe have crossed into Botswana and South Africa.

Francistown District Commissioner, Richard Oaitse told Mmegi yesterday that about eight Zimbabweans who crossed the border into Boborwa area have been taken to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants to await their fate. The Refugees Advisory Board, headed by the DC will determine whether they can be classified as refugees or not.

“A marquee tent has been erected within the Centre for Illegal Immigrants so that they don’t mix with other nationalities that are currently at the centre for various reasons,” said Oaitse. He explained that of the eight asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, three are children.

“I don’t have any other detail pertaining to these people. They might be on their way to the Dukwi Refugee Camp as we speak or something like that,” said the DC.

The Selebi-Phikwe District Officer, Khumo Keeng told Mmegi yesterday that the

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Zimbabwean asylum seekers spent the night at the Botshabelo police conference hall before they were sent to Francistown. He explained that when such people arrive, they go through interviews by the police and the department of immigration before they are sent to Francistown and Dukwi as refugees. “They go through proper channels until a Refugee Advisory Board declares them as refugees or not.” He added that they were not supposed to delay in Selebi-Phikwe because there are no holding centres. The commandant of Dukwi refugee settlement, Ephraim Sekeinyana reported yesterday that the asylum seekers have not been sent to the camp.

However, he revealed that about 100 refugees from Zimbabwe have been admitted into the Dukwi camp since 2006. “In the past two years, we have not received refugees from Zimbabwe. So far, we have not yet been warned about the impending arrival of the refugees and you can check us tomorrow (Tuesday) if any of them have been admitted or not,” Sekeinyana told Mmegi yesterday.

In the late 1970s a lot of Zimbabweans lived in Botswana as refugees during the liberation struggle. Some of them never went back. Currently opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is supposed to have won the Zimbabwean presidential polls is living in Gaborone after escaping from his home country fearing for his life.

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