37 illegal Ethiopian immigrants nabbed

limpopo riverThupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Police have intercepted 37 illegal Ethiopian immigrants as they made their way to South Africa through an illegal entry point along the Limpopo River.
The police officer commanding Beitbridge district Chief Superintend Patrick Majuta last Friday said the group was intercepted on Thursday afternoon aboard a Sharon Transport bus en route to South Africa.

He said the gang was arrested following a tip-off. Chief Supt Majuta said the Ethiopians had since been charged for contravening a section of the Immigration Act.

“The group had been in Zimbabwe illegally for two days pending their skipping the border to South Africa.
“When we intercepted them they had no valid travel documents

“We are yet to establish the port of entry they used,” he said.
He said the suspects had since been taken to Beitbridge Magistrates’ Court where they were remanded in custody to July 4 for trial due to technical challenges.

“They were not tried yesterday due to the unavailability of an Amharic interpreter,” he said.
Chief Supt Majuta said the police were on high alert for illegal immigrants from the Horn of Africa.

Of late there has been an increase in immigrants from Pakistan, Ethiopia, DRC and Somalia who enter the country illegally and try to skip the border to South Africa.

These are reportedly entering the country through Harare International Airport, Nyamapanda, Chirundu and Forbes border posts with the assistance of human trafficking syndicates operating in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Recently the Department of Immigration intercepted 18 Pakistan nationals who were en route to South Africa illegally.
It is understood that there is not much synchronisation of the movement control system at the country’s ports of entry which would help reduce irregular migration.

The assistant regional immigration officer in charge of compliance, Mr Francis Mabika, said recently that these migrants were entering the country through other ports of entry were there were minimal physical demarcations.

“You will note that we intercept these people at Beitbridge border where we have the Limpopo River,” he said.

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