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Zimbabwe ejects 70 Congolese refugees from camps for looting food supplies

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The Zimbabwean government has forcibly ejected 70 DR Congo refugees and returned them to their country after it was discovered they had looted food and medical supplies donated by donor agencies.

A report released by a human rights agency in the country on Wednesday, noted the refugees who were hosted at the Tongogara refugee camp, were “accused of looting a food supply warehouse” and were initially arrested in August 2021.

“The government forcibly returned approximately 70 of these refugees to the DRC in violation of international law according to an international organisation,” the report says.

“DRC authorities rejected approximately 15 of these refugees, whom the government then placed in detention facilities in Harare,” it added.

“As of November last year, the Tongogara Refugee Camp hosted 15,797 refugees and asylum seekers, despite the facility being designed to host 3,000 refugees.

“The majority of refugees are from the DRC representing 76 percent of the bulk, followed by Mozambique at 11 percent, Burundi at six percent and Rwanda five percent,” another report in the media stated.

The United Nations Refugees agency which frowned at the eviction of the Congolese refugees, said before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, an estimated 100 refugees and asylum seekers arrived at the camp every month, but the report however, said they faced abuse from security forces in Zimbabwe.

“Security forces routinely detained migrants, who lacked identification documents or permits to be in the country and held them in prisons with convicted criminals

“This prolonged detention was common and migrants complained of mistreatment by other prisoners and poor amenities at the facilities,” the report said.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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