Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Authorities are investigating a case in which 23 Malawian border jumpers disappeared from Beitbridge main police station while awaiting transportation to Harare, pending deportation.
Two of the immigrants are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.
The group comprises Ousmane Austin (27), Yamaya Saidi (26), Sumati Jamali (18), Hake Idrasl (23), Hajira Joe (23), Edward Master (18), Fatima Mark (27), Musa James (27), Bernard Chimenya (25), Dennis Bwala (18), Gladys shucha (24), Enock Halwa (24), Juiro Ajalu (18), Frank Mayazi (28), Blessings Wiseman (21), and Witness Mdala (21).
Others are Erison Lestah (24), Lejabo Mbewe (23), Fulani Witness (30), Adam Musa (22), Mark Musa (20), Madson Mwinjiro (37) and Matola Yusuf (19).
It is reported that two of the foreigners were busted by police as they tried to illegally leave the country last Monday morning around 4am.
The group had reportedly entered the country illegally and were arrested on a footpath near the old border post offices.
A security source said following their arrest, they were charged for exit by evasion under the Immigration Act.
They were taken to court where they appeared before Miss Vavariro Nhau who warned, cautioned and released them to Immigration Authorities for further management.
After that, arrangements were made that they be kept at the main police station pending transportation to Harare.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) sponsored their transportation under the regional facility for stranded migrants.
The source said when a Zupco bus arrived in Beitbridge last Thursday, it was discovered that all the migrants had absconded.
Police officer Commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, and the assistant regional immigration officer-in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Nqobile Ncube, could not be reached for comment.
Last year, two Malawian border jumpers who tested positive for Covid-19 during profiling and screening at the Beitbridge Quarantine and Isolation Centre located at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) hotel escaped.
One of the escapees was intercepted by security agents as he sought transport to Malawi at the closed Dulivadzimu Long-distance Bus Terminus.
His accomplice could not be found.
The two were part of 41 Malawians intercepted by security agents on patrol after skipping the border from South Africa.
After interception they were taken for profiling and screening where seven men and one woman tested positive and were put into isolation.