via Zimbabwe arrests 38 Ethiopian illegal immigrants – nation.co.ke By Kitsepile Nyathi
Zimbabwe has arrested 38 Ethiopians who were trying to cross into South Africa through an illegal crossing point.
According to police the group that had hired a bus from the eastern city of Mutare – at the border with Mozambique – were intercepted in Beitbridge as they prepared to cross into South Africa.
The suspects aged between 20 and 30 had also reportedly used an illegal entry point to enter Zimbabwe from Mozambique.
Beitbridge police commander Chief Superitendent Lawrence Chinhengo said police investigations were on-going and the group had been charged for illegal entry.
“We have had a number of such cases where these illegal immigrants come into the country through Mutare,” he told state media on Tuesday.
“We are not leaving any stone unturned, we want to get to the bottom of this syndicate.”
He said the crew of the bus that was carrying the suspects, which is owned by an influential member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF had also been detained.
“We received a tip-off that there were 38 Ethiopians who were being transported aboard a Senator Express bus from Mutare.
We then teamed up with the Department of Immigration,” Chief Superintendent Chinhengo said.
“We will not tolerate such lawlessness where people go to the extent of hiring buses to facilitate illegal immigration.”
Zimbabwe is used by traffickers as a key route because of its porous Beitbridge border with South Africa.
Syndicates help thousands of people every month to sneak into Africa’s biggest economy.
South Africa is home to over three million Zimbabweans, most of them illegal immigrants.
Thousands are sent back home every year but they quickly find their way back to South Africa using the illegal entry points.
Refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo also use Beitbridge, the largest inland port in Southern Africa, to sneak into South Africa.