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first_imgHundreds of Ethiopian migrants have been detained in overcrowded Malawian jails having served full sentences of charges of illegal entry.Most of illegal immigrants are being held in the Dedza prison, 85 kilometres (50 miles) south of Lilongwe, the administrative capital. Most of the refugees are believed to have been heading to South Africa.The government of Malawi lack the funds to send the refugees home leading to their prolonged stay at the prison after payment of fines and serving full sentences. The jail term for most is 6 months and other have paid a fine of 65 dollars.Authorities in Malawi say that there has been a steep increase in Ethiopians, Somalis and other Africans using the country as a transit route to find work in South Africa.“We serve them one meal a day at 3:00pm, mostly a thick porridge with beans. They sleep up to 50 people in a cell meant for 20 inmates.” Said a senior prison’s wardenThere are approximately 380 inmates in a prison designed for 100.There are other 317 Ethiopians being held in Maula Prison in Lilongwe facing the same plight according to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). The MSF says that Maula Prison has 2,650 inmates when it was designed to hold 800. MSF says the prison has one tap used by 900 and one latrine by 180 inmates.“Migrants detained face a host of health and human rights issues,” said Malawian high court judge Ken MandaAt least 70 prisoners were repatriated to Ethiopia late September with help from the US Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration.The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) say there is a need for at least 200,000 dollars to repatriate all 317 Ethiopian prisoners.Source AFPlast_img read more