Botswana begins deporting 800 Namibian refugees

Botswana has deported the first group of more than 800 Namibian refugees who have been living in the country for two decades.

On Tuesday, 94 refugees were transported back to their home country from a camp in the village of Dukwi.

The group fled Namibia in 1999 following a failed secessionist uprising. Many of the refugees are reported to be members of a banned secessionist political party in Namibia.

They were declared illegal immigrants last month after they refused to register for voluntary repatriation, citing fears of persecution if they returned home.

“We do not have a place to call home since we have been away… for the past two decades,” one refugee, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Voice of America news service.

“Those homes that we had are not there any more,” they added.

Namibia’s Immigration Minister Frans Kapofi said the country was “ready to receive our citizens”.

“When they come back to Namibia, they will go back to the communities where they came from,” he told The Namibian. “We do not intend to arrest those who have no questions to answer.”

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