Here's what Namaluco looked like the day after the 'armed attack' - Mozambique
O País (File photo)
The Mozambican police on Thursday detained 22 illegal migrants at the Zonue checkpoint in the central province of Manica.
The spokesperson for the Provincial Immigration Service, Jorge Machava, told reporters in the provincial capital, Chimoio, that 21 of the foreigners were Ethiopian and the 22nd was from Pakistan.
They were travelling through Mozambique on their way to South Africa in two vehicles, one driven by a South African citizen and the other by a Zimbabwean.
They had entered Mozambique from Malawi, and had crossed Tete province before reaching Manica. They were heading for the Machipanda border post, where they intended to cross into Zimbabwe. They would then have driven across Zimbabwe into South Africa.
This plan came unstuck when a police patrol intercepted them. They tried to flee, but were pursued by a joint brigade of the police and the immigration service, which caught up with them at Zonue, at about 02.00 on Thursday morning.
Machava said that preliminary investigations showed the group had disembarked at the Kamuzu Banda International Airport in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe. They had passed through Malawian immigration control apparently without any problem.
“In Mozambique, they didn’t present any documents”, said Machava. “That’s why they’re detained here awaiting further proceedings”.
The next step will be to return them to Malawi, “because their documents show they entered that country legally”.
As for the two drivers, the immigration authorities are working with the Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) to ascertain whether they were knowingly participating in the crime of human trafficking.
“The drivers are in Mozambique legally”, said Machava. “But we are working to discover whether or not this is a crime of trafficking in people, and to understand the nature of the business”.
Machava said the police will continue to work to block the entry of illegal migrants into Mozambique. He recognised that illegal migrants often use the Mozambican road network to reach South Africa, where they believe they will find better living conditions than in their countries of origin.Source: AIM