The immigration department has apprehended 10 Ethiopian nationals for illegally staying in the country without proper documentation.
Immigration Department Public Relations Manager, Martin Nshinka said the Immigration Office in Isoka apprehended the 10 Ethiopian nationals during the immigration – led operation conducted with the support of police held in the early hours of Saturday February 4,2023.
Mr Nshinka said the operation was carried out following information received from a concerned member of the public that a Toyota Hiace Registration Number AID 6897 which was carrying Ethiopians was being pursued by unknown persons in a Prado Registration Number ABJ 3055.
“With the help of the public, armed police and Immigration officers began following the two vehicles and found the Prado which had lost control and careered off the road in Ndingindi Village between Nakonde and Isoka District at around 02:00 hours and besides the vehicle were three Ethiopians,” Mr Nshinka said.
He added that the Officers later found an empty Toyota Hiace parked at a house and began searching the nearby bushes where they found nine more Ethiopians bringing the total to 12.
Mr Nshinka stated that amongst the 12 Ethiopians, six sustained injuries and are currently admitted to Isoka District Hospital while the remaining six have been detained at Isoka Police Station and a motorcycle registration number MC 473 CSA was also discovered at the scene.
Mr Nshinka said both drivers of the vehicles managed to escape, and it is believed that there could be more Ethiopians still unaccounted for and the search for the escapees is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Department of immigration as part of the ongoing crack-down on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the Department on February 3, 2023, apprehended one Zambian and a Zimbabwean suspected to be involved in human trafficking.
Mr Nshinka said the duo was nabbed at Oasis Truck Park in Chirundu by Officers based in Lusaka following a tip-off and are currently detained in police custody pending prosecution.
And in another development, the Department of Immigration has also secured the conviction of a 29-year-old Zambian for the offence of aiding and abetting illegal immigrants contrary to Section 46(a) (v) as read with Section 56(1) of the Immigration and Deportation Act No.18 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
“Facts are that Emmanuel Mbewe, a Resident of Kaunda Square Stage Two was arrested on July 9,2022 after his relatives brought him to the immigration headquarters with the instructions of the Department. He was charged with aiding and abetting a Malawian Couple that was in the country illegally when he took them to his Aunt’s House in Lusaka’s Chudleigh Area,” he said.
Mr Nshinka noted that Immigration Officers nabbed the Malawian Couple at the Chudleigh House on July 8, 2022, for unlawful stay, following a tip-off from members of the public. During the Officers’ visit, Mbewe was not present.
He stated that his case was concluded on 1st February 2023 when the Magistrate Court in Lusaka convicted and sentenced him to pay a fine of K 60,000 or in default 2-years imprisonment with hard labour and has since paid the court fine and has since been released from detention.
Further, the Kabwe Regional Immigration Office on February 1, 2023, effected nine deportations and 48 removals.
“The exercise was aimed at decongesting the Correctional Facilities. Those deported were nine Burundians and three Tanzanians who completed serving prison sentences for the offence of unlawful presence in the country. Those removed after paying court fines for unlawful presence were 27 Burundians, 12 Tanzanians, six Somalis, two Ugandans, and one Rwandese,” Mr Nshinka added.
He encouraged members of the public to continue reporting suspected cases of illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants to the nearest Immigration Office.
Mr Nshinka Further, said that the conviction of the 29-year-old Zambian should serve as a timely warning to Zambian citizens and residents who are in the habit of aiding, abetting, and harbouring illegal immigrants.
He stated that the maximum penalty for these offences is a fine of up to hundred and fifty thousand (K 150,000) or 5 years imprisonment or both.