Zim Churches Rescue DRC Refugees From Police
Zimbabwe Police and immigration officials wanted to lock up the refugees at Khami Maximum prison in Bulawayo saying there are threats to national security.
The 26 refugees who include 14 adults and 12 children entered Zimbabwe through illegal means on Tuesday through the Victoria Falls border; they were dumped at an open space near Bulawayo’s Amankhosi Culture centre in Makokoba High density suburb by a Commuter Omnibus which they hired from Victoria Falls.
After two days at the open space ZCC got hint that there were stranded refugees in the city and went to give food and medicine before sheltering them at African Methodist Church in Makokoba.
However, armed police and immigration officials descended on the church with the intention of arresting and locking them up at Khami Maximum prison saying there were threat to national security.
“Heavily armed police and immigration officials wanted to arrest these DR Congo refugees and detain them at Khami Maximum; they said there were threats to national security.
“However we pleaded with them not to arrest them as they look innocent and starving,” said Amon Mtombeni a member of ZCC who also a pastor at Africa Methodist Church.
Bohojo Titus, the spokesperson for the refugees told Radio VOP that they are of Tutsi tribe and belongs to Tshisekedi’s UDPS and they fled violence in eastern DR Congo last week and travelled through Zambia until they reached Zimbabwe.
“We left DR Congo’s Kivu province last week as the situation there was now serious, clashes between our party supporters and government security forces were now serious.
“So we decided to leave home together with our families and we thank Zimbabwe Council of Churches for helping us, as police wanted to arrest and detain us,” said Bhohojo.
The DRC refugees were however handed over to UNHCR yesterday by the country’s ZCC and were transported to Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge.
Tshisekedi, who came second on November 28 poll rejected DRC President Joseph Kabila’s re-election and “sworn in” himself as the country’s leader last week.